Yankees Prospect to Promote: Austin Wells
In the absence of Jose Trevino, who struggled all year long through what was later revealed to be a wrist issue in need of surgical repair, the Yankees have rolled with wild card Ben Rortvedt and defense-first catcher Kyle Higashioka behind the plate.
Rortvedt has yet to display the above-average offense he proffered from the left side in Scranton (.286 with a .900 OPS), hitting .125 in 24 at-bats in MLB this year. Defense-first catcher Kyle Higashioka threw a ball into left field Sunday as Jose Altuve raced for third, then dropped a foul tip third strike from Yordan Álvarez immediately preceding a two-run home run. If defense-first catcher Kyle Higashioka would like me to stop writing his name in that manner, he simply needs to play better defense.
If the Yankees don't want to continue valuing gloves that aren't quite there behind the dish, they might want to try Austin Wells before the end of the season.
New York's brass would have a better argument about ignoring Wells if the "all in" approach to defense was yielding consistently excellent results. As it stands, outside of Gerrit Cole and his comfort requirements, the Yankees shouldn't be wedded to either of their current options. Offense is a far more pressing need, and Wells has batted .260 with a .387 OBP in 14 games behind the dish in Scranton.
He's a left-handed power bat who could theoretically DH on Giancarlo Stanton off days. Imagine being able to say that about any Yankees catcher, post-Posada? 2024 should be Wells' year to get a real shot (though, knowing the Yankees, they'll bury him), but Sept. 2023 should be his audition.