2021 could make or break Gary Sanchez’s New York Yankee career

Austin Wells, New York Yankees
Feb 21, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Austin Wells (62) at Yankees player development complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s certainly been no secret that Gary Sanchez has greatly underperformed the past three seasons for the New York Yankees. In the Aaron Boone era, Sanchez has had just one season above a .200 average and a .800 OPS. He’s worked hard to break out of his extended hitting slump, but now in 2021, there could be even more pressure to do so.

Austin Wells, the Yankees 2020 first round draft pick, has performed well this spring. Despite not yet making any minor league appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wells’s potential was high enough to receive an invite to major league spring training. In seven at-bats, Wells singled twice, including a hard hit up the middle on March 28 against Philadelphia.

At just 21 years old, Wells is making a strong impression on the Yankees. He was actually drafted in the 35th round of the 2018 draft by the Yankees out of high school, but decided to go to college instead. Being that the Yankees chose him again in the 2020 draft, that shows how highly the teams thinks of him.

Wells will finally get minor league at-bats this season since MiLB baseball is finally resuming, and he’ll have an opportunity to really show what he can do. If he performs well, the Yankees likely won’t be hesitant to advance him to higher minor league levels, especially if Sanchez is struggling in the majors.

So, if Gary Sanchez doesn’t perform well this season, his Yankee days could soon be outnumbered. If Wells continues his strong play in 2021, he could progress through the minor league ranks quickly and be major league ready soon. It’s certainly not unheard of that players make their MLB debuts within a couple years of their draft, and that could be the case for Wells if Sanchez continue to underperform for the Yankees.