Since Wells just pitched yesterday, there is no retroactive placement on the IL move, and thus Wells’ first Major League season is officially over. Though Wells had never pitched above the Double-A level and hadn’t pitched at all since 2018, the 27-year-old made a very impressive accounting for himself in his debut season.
Over 57 innings out of Baltimore’s pen, Wells posted a 4.11 ERA and very strong walk (5.4%) and strikeout (29%) rates, plus a chase rate that ranked in the 95th percentile of all pitchers. Wells allowed a lot of hard contact and benefited from a .226 BABIP, though his 3.37 SIERA was quite a bit lower than his actual ERA.
This is the second time Wells has been placed on the IL this season, as he missed just short of three weeks due to wrist tendinitis. As a Rule 5 Draft pick, Wells needed to spend the entire season on the Orioles’ roster for the team to fully assume his rights, and he has already well surpassed the necessary threshold for time spent on the active roster.
The Orioles have been arguably baseball’s most aggressive team on the Rule 5 front for years, and that tradition has continued under current GM Mike Elias. Anthony Santander, T.J. McFarland, and Ryan Flaherty are perhaps the most prominent Baltimore Rule 5 picks who went on to become notable big league regulars for the Orioles and other teams, and Wells’ rookie year is a nice first step towards joining that group.
Wells was a 15th-round pick for the Twins in the 2016 draft, and he began his career primarily as a starter while posting some solid numbers in Minnesota’s farm system. However, his career was stalled by a Tommy John surgery that cost him all of the 2019 campaign, and then he couldn’t play in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season. The Twins decided to leave him exposed in last December’s Rule 5 draft, and the O’s snapped Wells up in the second round. (The Orioles also made a first-round pick in right-hander Mac Sceroler, though he was returned to the Reds in June after an injury-marred season.)