Yankees Prospects Who Should Not Be Traded: Austin Wells
While I'll admit I might've been a little insane when I asked whether Wells could fill the Yankees' big-league left field gap this season (just a little, Jake Bauers is kind of equally insane TBH!), that shows how much I value his potential offensive contributions, which represent everything this team has lacked for years. The bat plays.
Wells has only felt more motivated since being drafted to make it as a catcher, working extensively with the Yankees' coaching staff to improve his receiving work and footwork between the 2022 and 2023 season. He believes his future to be behind the plate. The Yankees' big-league roster appears to have room for him there; Jose Trevino is a great defensive catcher, but his bat lags behind the All-Star spurt he put forth last year. Kyle Higashioka is Kyle Higashioka: Just fine. Ben Rortvedt? He's on the mystery minor-league IL again. If Wells can catch, he can definitely catch here.
As for the bat? He's a 23-year-old left-handed hitter who was supposed to be mature (with power) when he was selected in 2020. His three year OPS marks? .866 across two levels, .897 across three levels, .814 with a brief rehab stopover (after a fractured rib) that's dragged down his 2023 line. At Double-A, he's OPS'd .833, drilling nine homers and striking out just 38 times in 36 games. It still doesn't seem totally insane to think he could be ready to hit at the highest level now.
The Yankees, who lack balance eternally, need left pop moving forward. There is zero reason to sacrifice Wells, especially if he plays a position of need. Who knows? Maybe he even joins the coaching staff as an assistant hitting coach after diagnosing Anthony Volpe better than Dillon Lawson could last week.