Yankees’ catching duo is raising eyebrows with hot start to season

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season started, the New York Yankees were expected to have two catchers share most of the playing time: Jose Trevino, the defensive specialist with a suspect bat; and Austin Wells, the more promising hitter with questions about his defense.

The Yankees’ catching duo is off to a hot start

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
Mar 10, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino (39) is congratulated in the dugout after he scored a run during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

We are virtually two months into the 2024 campaign and we can say the organization is pleasantly surprised about a few developments concerning their catching duo. The Yankees are ninth in WAR by catchers, with 1.6. They were 13th last year with 2.5.

That alone represents an improvement, and it has been fueled by Trevino being better than expected offensively and Wells taking a step forward with his defense. Just like we all imagined, right?

Trevino, besides ranking second among MLB catchers in DRS with 7 and also second in framing runs with 4.4, is slashing a cool .283/.327/.434 with a 119 wRC+. Whether or not that’s sustainable remains to be seen and it’s a discussion for another day, but given he is a career 77 wRC+ hitter, the Yankees will gladly take anything over or even close to 100.

The Yankees are happy with Wells’ defensive progress

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, austin wells
Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Wells, perhaps unexpectedly, has struggled a bit offensively with a .202/.294/.298 line. He has the talent to be better and should with time. The most shocking development has been his defense.

Wells, in limited playing time, ranks eighth in framing runs with 2.3 and is tied at ninth with 3 DRS. He is also eighth in baseball in Baseball Prospectus’ Called Strikes Above Average (CSAA).

By now, we know that Wells takes his time in preparing games and is very good at communicating with his pitchers and establishing a game plan. He has also been an adequate blocker, but stopping the running game remains a work in progress. Still, the Yankees are ecstatic with what he has done this year.

They might not be stars like Adley Rutschman or William Contreras, but the Yankees catching duo has been phenomenal this year; a huge reason behind the team’s success.

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