The Yankees have signed 28th overall pick Austin Wells, he announced on Twitter. The catcher agreed to a $2.5MM bonus, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports. That just about matches the $2,493,900 recommended slot value of his selection.
The Yankees have long been after Wells, whom they drafted in the 35th round in 2018. But Wells elected to attend the University of Arizona, where he upped his stock by slashing .357/.476/.560 with seven home runs in 351 plate appearances. As a result, the 20-year-old went into this month’s draft ranking in the vicinity of where the Yankees took him, as Baseball America rated Wells 21st among available prospects, MLB.com placed him 27th, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel put him at 36, FanGraphs had him 40th, and he checked in at 44 on the list of Keith Law of The Athletic.
As his numbers with the Wildcats show, Wells thrived as a hitter in college, and MLB.com writes he “has power to all fields, with good timing and a simple setup at the plate.” There are questions over whether Wells will make it as a catcher in the pros, but his bat and athleticism could make him a viable first baseman or corner outfielder if he doesn’t stick at his current spot. MLB.com likens Wells to the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber, an ex-catcher who has become a slugging outfielder in the majors.