Yankees’ offensive catcher is starting to showcase his upside

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
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Despite the unsettling injury scare involving Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees managed a commendable victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. Tests on Judge returned negative, assuring his return to the lineup shortly. Amid these concerns, the team saw significant contributions from other players, particularly from the catcher position, which proved pivotal in their win.

Austin Wells: The Yankees’ Rookie Catcher on the Rise

Austin Wells, in his rookie season, has faced the expected ups and downs of acclimating to the major leagues. Throughout 42 games this season, his performance at the plate has been modest, with a batting average of .210, an on-base percentage of .294, and a slugging percentage of .323, including two home runs and 10 RBIs. His strikeout rate stands at 21%, paired with a 10.5% walk rate.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, austin wells
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However, recent games have hinted at Wells’ potential heating up. Over his last 22 at-bats, he has improved, hitting .273 with a .346 on-base percentage and a .455 slugging percentage, which cumulates to a .801 OPS. This includes one home run and five RBIs. In Tuesday’s game, batting eighth, Wells contributed with a run and a hit.

Wells’ power from the left side of the plate is becoming more evident, underlining his potential as a valuable offensive weapon. While he was renowned for his batting skills in the minors, his defensive capabilities have seen considerable improvement. Notably, Wells ranks fourth in catcher framing runs, a testament to his evolving skill behind the plate. Additionally, he ranks 12th in strike rate, indicating his progress in managing pitchers and controlling the game.

Rookie challenges, particularly on the offensive front, are to be expected, but Wells displays promising traits of a long-term solution at catcher for the Yankees. In the farm system, another prospect, Agustin Ramirez, is making waves with his batting prowess, suggesting a future potential platoon scenario with Wells.

Looking forward, the Yankees hold a strong position with Wells, who won’t reach free agency until 2030, and Jose Trevino, controlled in arbitration until the 2026 off-season. This setup provides the Yankees with ample opportunity to develop these talents further, enhancing their strategic options behind the plate. As Wells continues to gain experience and at-bats, the organization remains optimistic about his trajectory and the depth he adds to the roster.

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