The 2020 season was a lost one for many players and prospects, even in the New York Yankees. There was a shortened MLB season, but the Minor League Baseball campaign was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.
However, the fact that there wasnâ€™t live baseball for catcher Austin Wells, the Yankeesâ€™ 2020 first-round draft pick, didnâ€™t prevent him from making an effort to improve his skills.
â€œSo far heâ€™s been really impressive,â€ Kevin Reese, the Yankeesâ€™ senior director of player development, said to MLB.com. â€œI think whatâ€™s been impressive, too, is just throughout this downtime — I canâ€™t imagine being a player during this time, especially a first-round pick who has to wait a year to get into a game — heâ€™s been a total pro; communicating really well with our hitting, catching, nutrition, strength and conditioning staff.â€
The drive to be better is what separates the great ones from the pack, and Wells understands that very well. He played his first professional game a few days ago in spring training, but he managed to impress players and coaches with his hitting prowess.
â€œIâ€™m just taking it day by day,â€ Wells said. â€œIâ€™m not looking too far into the future and not thinking too much about the past and whatâ€™s happened, or what should have been. Iâ€™m just taking the opportunities that come to me and really taking advantage of those, for sure.â€
The Yankees love his demeanor and approach
Wellsâ€™ hitting is what stands out from his game. He has a compact swing from the left side of home plate, capable of generating plenty of power but geared for line drives.
â€œHe can hit; we really like his swing,â€ said manager Aaron Boone. â€œOne of the things that stands out to me is that I didnâ€™t necessarily know how strong he is. Heâ€™s as strong as anyone in camp, especially when you test them and everything. Some of the conversations that heâ€™s having are pretty advanced from a hitting standpoint. This is a guy that loves hitting and understands it a little bit.â€