The New York Yankees have drafted an inordinate amount of “catchers of the future” over the past several years, nabbing Anthony Seigler and Josh Breaux back to back in 2018, followed by Arizona’s Austin Wells in 2020.
Without a minor-league season to his name yet, it still seems the 21-year-old Wells is the furthest along of the trio.
But don’t take our word for it.
Would you listen to Aaron Boone?
Though he looks a little less intimidating than he did during his Wildcat days without the beard (while still maintaining his thick goggles), Wells is clearly someone to watch.
His glove may not be quite advanced enough for the big leagues yet, but there’s a reason he’s getting a crash course in catching at spring training. Boone values the bat, and the whole team seems united around getting it to the majors sooner rather than later.
“He’s as strong as anyone in camp.” Anyone?! Come ON, now. How do you not love that?
We’ll see in the coming months if Wells really is a quote-unquote “defensive liability,” or if scouts’ concern about his ability to handle catcher at the major-league level is overblown. But since he’s already lost one-half season of active duty, it’s clear the Yankees intend to push him slightly, perhaps even starting him out at Triple-A (since the season begins earlier than the lower levels).
Don’t believe Boone? What about minor-league hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson, who’s been craning his neck thus far this spring to get a look at Wells up close.
"Lawson said Wells, 21, — whom Baseball America says is the Yankees’ fifth best prospect — was in an elite group of Yankees pupils “likely to progress through our minor-league system super quickly.”He added: “He’s got some of the best bat speed in the organization. He’s been itching to get on a field.”"
All we’ve gotten thus far are quick peeks at Wells’ bat talent, but it’s clear his raw power translates to a big-league batting practice session.
Wells is more likely to get spring at-bats against genuine major leaguers in the first five innings of action than fellow top prospects like Oswald Peraza or (of course) Jasson Dominguez.
Don’t take spring training as gospel, but Wells will have a clear and obvious chance to back up his manager’s words right away.