New York Yankees Select Catcher Austin Wells With No. 28 Pick in 2020 MLB Draft
With the 28th pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees selected catcher Austin Wells from the University of Arizona.
Wells was drafted by the Yankees in the 35th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, 1,057th overall out of Bishop Gorman HS in Nevada.
In his lone full season at Arizona, Wells posted a .353 average and 1.104 OPS with 73 runs and 60 RBI across 56 games. He was recognized as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
This year – in a campaign shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic – Wells was even better. Through 15 games, Wells had a .375 batting average and an OPS of 1.116.
The 20-year-old – listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds – is ranked as the 27th best prospect in the 2020 MLB Draft class by MLB Pipeline. He was listed 44th out of Keith Law's top 100 prospects from this class.
"We are very happy to get Austin Wells today,” said Damon Oppenheimer, New York's Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting. “We thought he was one of the top hit and power combinations in the draft. We love his desire and makeup, along with his athleticism. We have known him for years and seen him progress quite a bit behind the plate to allow us to believe he can be an impact guy.”
Here's more on Wells and his powerful left-handed swing straight from his scouting report on MLB.com:
There is no question that Wells' bat plays. The left-handed hitter has power to all fields, with good timing and a simple setup at the plate. He has strength and bat speed and controls the bat head well to make loud contact. He does strike out a bit, but he also draws a lot of walks. There are more concerns about where he might play defensively. He's adequate behind the plate, and while his arm stroke and release are fine, his throws are inconsistent. He is a decent enough athlete to play first or figure things out in left field.
A team taking Wells with its first pick might want to send him out as a catcher until he proves he can't play the position. His bat should play regardless of his eventual defensive position and he could end up following a Kyle Schwarber type path to the big leagues.
This year's MLB Draft was shortened to just five rounds due to the novel coronavirus. Coverage of the next four rounds kicks off at 5 p.m. ET Thursday evening on MLB Network and ESPN2.
After signing Gerrit Cole in the offseason, New York forfeited its second- and fifth-round selections. Therefore, the Bombers only have two more picks to fill out the organization's draft class.
The Yankees will make the No. 99 and No. 129 selections in the third and fourth round respectively. Only time will tell which prospects they elect to choose, but there are two positions New York could benefit from addressing Thursday the most.
Looking for more Yankees-related MLB Draft coverage? Sports Illustrated's Inside The Pinstripes has you covered:
- READ: Who Would the Yankees Pick When Redrafting the Star-Studded 2010 MLB Draft?
- WATCH: Breaking Down the Best No. 28 Selections in MLB Draft History
- READ: Without Nick Swisher's Departure, the Yankees Wouldn't Have Drafted Aaron Judge
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