In today’s entry to the 2020 Major League Baseball Scouting Report series (you can check out all of the reports in the series right here.)we’re going to look at Arizona catcher Austin Wells. He’s currently rated as the #21 prospect in the draft by Baseball America, #44 prospect by Fangraphs, and #27 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
The 2019 Season
The New York Yankees selected Austin Wells out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas after the 2018 season with their 35th round selection. The catcher decided to pass on signing and headed off to Arizona where he started immediately.
Speaking of immediate – that was his impact. In 277 plate appearances he hit .353/.462/.552 with 15 doubles, 7 triples, 5 home runs, and 46 walks with just 43 strikeouts. He also saw action all around the field, playing games at catcher, first base, left field, and right field.
When the college season was over, Austin Wells packed up his stuff and headed out to the Cape Cod League where he just kept on hitting. In 42 games played for Yarmouth-Dennis he hit .308/.389/.526 with 13 doubles and 7 home runs.
The 2020 Season
After a big freshman year, the now 20-year-old catcher got out to an even better start in 2020. He only got a chance to play in 15 games, but in that span he hit .375/.527/.589 with 6 doubles, 2 homers, 17 walks, and struck out 14 times.
Austin Wells College Stats
Austin Wells Video
Austin Wells Scouting Report
Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
Position(s): Catcher, First Base, Corner Outfield
With Austin Wells it all starts with the bat. He’s got an above-average hit tool and he’s got above-average to plus raw power. The draft eligible sophomore has performed well in the Pac 12 and crushed the ball out in the Cape Cod League – two leagues where good performances go a long way in the eyes of scouts. An advanced approach, he uses the entire field and the power plays now from foul pole to foul pole.
Defensively is where you run into a lot of different opinions. Some believe he can remain at catcher long term, though he’ll need to spend time working on it. Others don’t think he’s got enough there to remain at the spot and will need to move to first or the outfield. But even among that group there are some questions about just how much he can play those positions – though some are more confident that he can handle the outfield fine.
As a catcher he used to show much stronger pop times than he does today. He’s dealt with some arm injuries since high school and the arm now grades out below-average. His receiving, blocking, and throwing skills all need improving if he’s going to remain behind the plate.
Where the concern could be
Defense. There are some out there who think he doesn’t have much of a defensive home and he’s going to be a liability anywhere he winds up. If the defense doesn’t work out somewhere, it’s tough to find an every day spot to play him.