The New York Yankees are reportedly set to call up two of their best prospects in Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells. This will come after a flurry of roster moves that saw the Yankees cut Josh Donaldson and Spencer Howard. Wells showed a lot of promise in the Minors, and the former University of Arizona star has the potential to be the everyday catcher for the Yanks in the near future. Here’s a closer look at Wells.
A Look at Wells
Former Arizona Wildcat Austin Wells torched NCAA pitching in 2019 & 2020. The left-handed hitting catcher hit .353 with 27 extra base hits in 2019, then produced a stellar, yet shortened 2020 campaign that was one of the best among collegiate catchers.
Wells turned a strong collegiate career into a first round selection, when the Yankees picked him with the 28th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. It was the second time that Wells was taken by the Yankees, as he was originally drafted by the team in the 35th round in 2018 out of high school.
Wells showed a unique blend of power and stolen base prowess from behind the plate in 2021, when he belted 16 home runs and stole 16 bases across 103 games in 2021. He followed up that campaign with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League, when he hit .344 with a pair of home runs in 18 games.
The 24-year-old hit 20 home runs over 92 games in 2022, and added 17 more to his MiLB total between Somerset (AA) and Scranton Wilkes-Barre (AAA) this season. Across 95 games in 2023, Wells hit .243/.335/.447 with 41 extra base hits.
The calling cards for Wells are his abilities to draw walks and hit for power. The Yankees catcher has the swing and bat speed to be a real threat in Yankee Stadium, a stadium where he could benefit given the dimensions.
Defensively, Wells has played exclusively behind the dish in his pro career. However, Wells only had a CS% rate of 13% in 2023.
What it Means for the Yankees and Fantasy Outlook
With Jose Trevino on the injured list for the remainder of the season and Ben Rortvedt hitting just .122 over 25 games, it seemed reasonable to think heading into August that Wells could get a look with a strong run in Scranton.
Now, the Yankees will get their first look at the former first-round pick and potential catcher of the future, as he’ll likely split games with Kyle Higashioka once he ultimately gets promoted. And, a strong performance by Wells could give him a good jump towards claiming a roster spot out of camp next spring.
Getting to Wells’ fantasy value for the remainder of 2023, we indicated earlier in the month that players needed to anticipate a call-up given the holes in the Yankees depth chart behind the plate. Wells’ power-hitting profile from the left side gives the 24-year-old a real chance to be a home run threat in Yankee Stadium for years to come.
For those in need of a catcher over the final few weeks, Wells is a name to watch.