Austin Wells inches closer to MLB opportunity with Triple-A promotion

Yankees rookie catcher hits a big home run in his Triple-A debut for the RailRiders.
Michael Bennington
Saturday July 22, 2023

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After a significant wait, Yankees’ prospect and catcher Austin Wells earned a promotion from Double-A Somerset to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After a promising journey through the minors, the Yankees’ second top prospect is now just one step away from making it to the major leagues.

Austin Wells remained with the Somerset Patriots for over a year since the talented catcher first joined the team. Over the course of 113 regular-season matches with Somerset, the Yankees catcher displayed his talents, registering 23 home runs, 22 doubles, one triple, 93 RBI, and a .248 batting average. His performance also boasted an impressive .803 OPS, along with 58 walks and 118 strikeouts in 510 plate appearances.

Throughout July, the 24-year-old catcher’s performance has experienced a decline, resulting in a modest slash line of .237/.327/.443 for the 2023 season in Somerset. However, even amidst the slump, Austin Wells showcased his prowess with 25 extra-base hits and an impressive 50 RBI in a mere 58 games.

The timing was perfect to promote Austin Wells, as the Yankees made the move due to injured catcher Jose Trevino being placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to July 18) with a right wrist tear. As a replacement, they called up catcher Ben Rortvedt from Scranton.

Catcher Austin Wells gets an invitation to the Yankees spring training camp.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Austin Wells’ long-awaited promotion

However, one could make the case that Austin Wells’ promotion had been delayed. When comparing it to Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe‘s situation, who played 110 games with the Patriots last year before moving up with a similar slash line of .251/.348/.472, it seems the Yankees catcher had enough time in Double-A and likely outperformed his stats, which prompted the Yankees to make the move.

Austin Wells in action for the Somerset Patriots.
MLB Pipeline

Austin Wells has shown notable improvements in his defensive skills, notably reducing the number of passed balls over the past two seasons and enhancing his game-calling and pitch-framing abilities. Although some critics may highlight his 14 percent caught-stealing percentage this season, which is lower than last year’s 23 percent mark in Somerset, it could be partly due to pitchers being restricted to two disengagements in Minor League Baseball since the start of this year.

If it weren’t for the unfortunate rib fracture he sustained in a freak weight room accident in February, Austin Wells might have been promoted to Scranton earlier. Following his rehab assignment in Tampa on April 25, he made his return to Somerset on May 2.

The Yankees have valued Austin Wells highly from an early stage, evident in their two draft selections of him. Initially, they picked him in the 35th round in 2018 when he finished high school in Las Vegas. Later, they chose the catcher again in the first round in 2020 after he decided to attend the University of Arizona.

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One thought on “Austin Wells inches closer to MLB opportunity with Triple-A promotion

  1. Hope he’s not being set up to be part of a prospects package in a trade. Higashioka’s time has expired. We’ve entered the era of hard-hitting catchers who are consistent at bat. A left-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium is a major plus (as opposed to Higgy’s sometimes power, mostly DP at bats).

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