The 2023 New York Yankees require an infusion of offense. Unfortunately, they're absolutely stacked at catcher, so they'll have to look for somewhere else to insert a bonafide bat.
The last time we spoke about Austin Wells, the prevailing thought was that his bat could play anywhere, so why shouldn't it play in left field, where the team opted to enter the season with a hole? Turns out, shoving non-left fielders into left field hasn't actually gone so great this year, and we can't in good conscience advocate for doing it again.
So, why not behind the plate? The tandem of Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka has, God love 'em, looked much more like two backup catchers sharing duties than an All-Star and a slugging reserve holding down the position. Both men are excellent defenders and advanced framers, and Trevino is the reigning Platinum Glove Award winner. Suffice to say, though, that his first half's worth of offense played a role in opening some eyes to his defensive contributions too, though. It's feeling more and more like, someday, the Yankees will carry Trevino as their backup, say goodbye to Higashioka, and install Wells as a 100-game starter/occasional DH.
We know why that "someday" can't be now, midseason, but ... Wells' bat seems to have conquered Double-A, and the Yankees can't find offense (or left-handed contributors) anywhere. It's a genuine shame that he can't be promoted alongside the man whose swing he fixed over a plate of chicken parm, Anthony Volpe.
Austin Wells could be Yankees' next rookie star after Anthony Volpe
The legend of Volpe's parmigiana-infused stance alteration is no longer a joke. About three weeks ago, a demotion didn't just seem possible for the top prospect shortstop. It appeared both necessary and past due.
Since he closed things off after watching a film session with Wells, his old minor-league teammate, he's done much more than occasionally run into a homer. He's gotten back to spraying the ball around the field, and doing so with authority. His average, once as low as the .180s, is now back over .220, and his .296 average/.667 slugging in his past 15 games speaks volumes.
Imagine how many homers off Yennier Cano of the O's he'll hit with Wells by his side, protecting him in the lineup?
This is all wishful thinking, but Wells' 11 bombs, 47 RBI and .849 OPS in 48 Double-A games (after 55 last year) seem to merit the Volpe Treatment of an August/September Triple-A promotion to potentially avoid a slow 2024 start at the new level.
And, hey, if Dillon Lawson needs another disciple to get his message out (or translate it for a younger audience), the 23-year-old Wells is available for that, too.
More Yankees Stories: