Yankees’ exciting new catcher is a ‘shoo-in’ to make the roster

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have high hopes for one of their young prospects, who is ready to make a full transition to the MLB this season.

At 24 years old, Austin Wells will enjoy his rookie season in 2024 after playing 19 games for the Yankees last year, dipping his feet into the highest level of baseball.

Over that sample, Wells hit .229/.257/.486, but put together some really solid numbers over the final two weeks of the season. The coaching staff knows how good Wells can be offensively, but they were pleasantly surprised by his defensive efficiency and the chemistry he developed with the Yankees’ pitching staff in such a short amount of time.

In fact, Wells has only been getting better this spring, having started out a bit slow but picked things up in the batter’s box and continues to show improvements defensively. He worked diligently this off-season to maintain his rhythm and display a high work ethic. That is exactly what the Bombers want to see in a young player looking to earn a roster spot.

Austin Wells Will Likely Make the Yankees’ Roster

In fact, Erik Boland of Newsday believes that Wells is a shoo-in to make the roster, meaning a platoon between him and Jose Trevino could be in store.

“It has been apparent for at least the last week that Austin Wells is a shoo-in to make the roster out of camp – and he may well end up as the primary catcher – and the same can be said of Jose Trevino. Barring injury for either, of course.”

This spring, Wells has played 13 games and made 33 plate appearances. He’s hitting .300/.364/.600, including two homers and eight RBIs, with a 36.4% strikeout rate and 9.1% walk rate. Of course, he will be looking to reduce that K%, but the Yankees are excited about his offensive potential and continuing to develop chemistry with the pitching staff.

The consensus now is that Wells could blossom into a starting MLB catcher, but there were a few red flags. His arm strength, framing qualities, and overall defense behind the dish were of concern, but he has put those issues to bed, and the Yankees now feel confident that he can start games on an everyday basis or split time with Trevino based on matchups.

“He works his tail off,” bench coach Brad Ausmus said of Wells. “He wants to be a catcher. He wants to be a very good catcher. I know he’s done well, from a statistical standpoint, defensively in spring training. If he keeps moving in that direction defensively and he swings the bat like he’s been swinging it, he’s destined to have a long career. Especially being left-handed.”

With Gerrit Cole expected to miss the first few months of the season, Trevino’s role could be lessened to a degree since he would’ve been his personal catcher. At this point, it will be interesting to see which pitchers prefer Trevino or Wells, especially since the veteran of the two just recently returned from a calf he had been nursing for several weeks.

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