Yankees 2020 first-rounder Austin Wells already impressing at spring training: 'We really like his swing'

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Scott Thompson
·2 min read
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Austin Wells
Austin Wells

The battle at catcher in spring training is focused on Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka. But manager Aaron Boone has been impressed by another that got the invite this year to join the team in Tampa: 2020 first-round pick Austin Wells.

The Arizona product was expected to elevate through the minors if 2020 didn't have cancel minor-league games. Now, he's making the best of his showcase, essentially, for his potential future coaches.

Talking to reporters, Boone said Wells' hitting -- a big strength that had the Yankees intrigued when he was drafted -- is already impressive.

"I mean, he can hit," Boone said. "And we really like his swing. I think one of the things that stands out to me is that I didn’t necessarily know is how strong he is. He’s as strong as anyone in camp. Especially when you test them and everything, he’s a really strong person."

Batting from the left side, the 21-year-old Wells slashed .357/.476/.560 with seven homers and 74 RBI in his two seasons with the Wildcats in the NCAA. He also had a 1.035 OPS for his career.

Wells will hope to finally begin his pro career this season, as long as minor league play kicks off. It's unclear what level he will start at, but if he performs well over the next month or so, it could be a higher level to start.

Boone said that hitting coaches Marcus Thames and PJ Pilittere are excited to work more with him moving forward.

"I was talking to PJ Pilittere the other day, and talking about some of the conversations that he’s having that are pretty advanced from a hitting standpoint. This is a guy that loves hitting, that understands it a little bit," Boone explained. "So I know Marcus is very excited to work with him and has really liked what he’s seen, just in batting practice. This is a guy that came with a really strong offensive reputation and our early eyes on him confirm that.”