Two years ago, Arizona catcher Austin Wells was selected by the New York Yankees in the 35th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft but opted not to sign and instead enrolled at Arizona. Now, Wells finds himself getting drafted by the Yankees once again, this time in round one.
All eyes were on Wells Wednesday evening as the 2020 MLB Draft opened up its shortened five-round event. It was unclear if Wells would hear his name called on day one as mock drafts from different major outlets including ESPN and MLB had him going anywhere from the late first to early second round. His hitting and power were undeniable, but it was his defensive ability behind the plate that had some people question whether or not he would be taken in round one.
After lots of anticipation all day, Wells heard his name called by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred as the Yankees selected him with the No. 28 overall pick. It was clear New York had their eyes on him for quite some time now, as his ability to hit for power in all parts of the field has been well regarded by scouts.
After taking home Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2019 where he led all freshmen in Power Five conferences in batting average hitting .353 with 72 runs scored and seven triples, Wells followed that performance up hitting .375 with two home runs and 21 hits across 15 games in this past year’s shortened season.
One underrated aspect of Well’s game on the offensive side of the ball is his patience at the plate. His 46 walks drawn in his freshman season ranked fourth in the conference before he drew another 17 walks this past season. That is a quality that often gets overlooked at times.
Wells' defensive presence behind the plate as a catcher is the biggest red flag according to many scouts. However, he did work a lot behind the plate during the offseason prior to this past season and it showed in the limited number of games played having allowed just one passed ball through 15 games after allowing 10 passed balls in his freshman season.
The future of the Yankees offense is pretty set in stone right now with Gary Sanchez leading the way behind the plate. Wells will have some work to do to move his way up to the major leagues but should begin his major league career behind the plate. However, Wells saw time in the outfield and at first base, so there is flexibility to move him around the field where he feels more comfortable.
Rounds 2-5 of the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft will take place on Thursday as Wildcats utility player Matthew Dyer hopes to hear his name called among other Wildcat players.
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