The New York Yankees used their first-round draft pick on Austin Wells, a catcher from the University of Arizona.
Wells is known as an offensively minded catcher. In 71 games at Arizona, he hit .357 with 74 RBIs and an OPS of 1.036. His bat could reach MLB readiness sooner rather than later. He’s already been graded at 55 for both hitting and power.
The biggest knock on Wells is his deficiencies behind the plate. His ability to frame pitches leaves much to be desired and his arm has been scouted at a 40, but could very well end up being average to slightly above average.
With talks of the addition of robo-umps, however, Wells’ pitch-framing deficiencies could become moot. If robot-umps were introduced, his ability to hit and hit for power will make him a much more valuable commodity.
If the Yankees decide they don’t want him behind the plate, they’re comfortable moving him around the field. He’s played games at both first base and in the outfield. He may not be a plus defender in any spot but changing his position could make for an easier rise through the system.
The positional versatility also doesn’t hurt if the Yankees decided to sign current catcher, Gary Sanchez, long term. It’s unlikely that Wells would ever supersede Sanchez.
Another positive quality the Yankees see in Wells is his ability to draw walks. With a .476 OBP in his college career, Wells shows that he could be the player the Yankees front office dreams off. A left-handed bat with pop that knows how to control the strike zone? Yes, please.
If he can utilize his offensive talents from a premium position like catcher, Wells could be a great player for the Yankees down the road.
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