Yankees’ promising young catcher using off-season to improve his craft

mlb: new york yankees at toronto blue jays, austin wells
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are setting high hopes for young catcher Austin Wells, seeing potential for a significant role in 2024. While Wells’ position as a starter next season remains uncertain, his credentials suggest he could at least provide support for José Treviño with potential for more.

During his stint of 33 games with Triple-A Scranton, and subsequently 19 games with the Yankees, Wells showcased his capabilities. His overall stats may appear modest, with a batting average of .229 and an OBP of .257. But his performances toward the season’s end have turned heads. In the final 15 days, he boasted a .344 batting average and a 1.176 OPS, delivering all his four homers and nine RBIs during this period.

Committed to Growth

Rather than indulging in a leisurely off-season in Las Vegas, Wells is committed to continuous improvement. He’s heading to Tampa to benefit from the Yankees’ training facilities and hone his skills further.

Speaking to NJ Advance Media, Wells mentioned the advantages of training in Tampa: “In Vegas, there isn’t really a convenient baseball training facility with guys who are constantly there working. We have a great crew down there, a great support staff that I’ll be able to use whenever down there. So I think it gives me the best opportunity for success during the offseason.”

More Than Just Offense

Wells’ potential isn’t confined to his batting prowess. He’s earned accolades for his defensive attributes behind the plate. Several pitchers have publicly endorsed his efficiency, praising his game management and consistency.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone has been vocal in his appreciation, saying, “I think he’s done an outstanding job behind the plate. He’s probably surpassed our expectations there. I think he’s done a great job with the pitchers, developing those relationships. … I think he’s gained the respect of the pitching staff with his presence, with his intelligence, with his information, with his ability to grasp and understand information.”

Yankees Looking Forward to 2024

The upcoming off-season presents Wells an opportunity to further refine his game, focusing on defensive improvements and batting finesse. If he returns with enhancements in these areas, the Yankees could benefit from a solid offense from the catcher’s spot in their lineup.

Wells indeed possesses the attributes of a potential starting player for the New York Yankees. The dynamics with Treviño will be interesting to watch, especially if Wells’ progress potentially repositions Treviño as a backup or as Gerrit Cole’s exclusive catcher.

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