1. Austin Wells
He doesn’t have a single minor-league game under his belt, and he won’t open 2021 on the MLB roster.
But every time Austin Wells appears in a game — or even a BP group, like Corey Kluber’s live session Monday — we’re hit with wall-to-wall Wells coverage.
Catching coach Tanner Swanson has raved recently about the progress he’s made behind the plate. And whether it’s via taking the walk or smacking an 0-2 fastball up the middle, we’ve already seen enough in limited cameos to know the bat comes as advertised.
Our roll regarding whether or not Wells is the “catcher of the future” has already been slowed, so no need to warn us. But the team’s development executives, beat writers and personnel people have all been laser-focused on his efforts so far, and we’ve been told all along that his advanced college bat would be ready before the glove.
Absent a 2020 season to hang his hat on, we still expect Wells to start at the Double-A level this in May when the season begins — or at least reach there by June. From there, it’s a sprint to the finish for the collegiate star whom the Yankees already scouted and drafted once before back in 2018 as a high-schooler.
The team’s been high on him … twice. The media coverage has been glowing. And the bat’s backed it up. If he hits the ground running, he’ll be hitting on the Yankees bench when rosters expand.