Yankees’ rookie catcher making an instant impact

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

With all eyes on Yankees‘ Juan Soto over the first three games of the regular season, several other players have made a positive impact. Aside from Oswaldo Cabrera and Anthony Volpe’s early signs of growth, rookie catcher Austin Wells has quietly contributed, not only offensively but also behind the dish.

Wells caught Carlos Rodon on Friday and Marcus Stroman on Saturday, with Jose Trevino sitting after having a solid first game to start the season. The 24-year-old had a strong spring performance, hitting .300/.391/.550, including two homers and nine RBIs. His production increased gradually as spring wore on, but his start to the regular season has been equally as impressive.

Austin Wells Should Remain the Starter For the Yankees

Over two games and nine plate appearances, Wells is hitting .333 with a .556 OBP, including three runs scored and an 189 wRC+. On Saturday night, Wells contributed a hit and two walks, displaying great plate discipline and value at the catcher position that is difficult to find.

There were red flags about his defensive upside, but Wells has put those to bed, sporting a 50% strike rate, compared to 47.5% last year, and 0.23 blocks above average per game versus -0.12 in 2023. The sample is small, but it is evidence that Wells is making a positive impact, and the defensive growth has been tangible.

Pairing good glove work behind home plate and an above-average bat, the Yankees will have a hard time giving Trevino more reps if he continues to hit at a high level.

The Yankees’ offense has fought back from three consecutive deficits to emerge victorious, opening the year 3–0. They will have one final game against Houston on Sunday afternoon at 2:10 PM with Clarke Schmidt on the mound against J.P. France.

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