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What they’re saying about the Yankees drafting Austin Wells

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

The New York Yankees selected Arizona Wildcats catcher Austin Wells with the No. 28 overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft.

This comes after the left-handed-hitting sophomore hit .351 with seven home runs, 74 RBI, a .560 slugging percentage and a 1.036 OPS in 71 career games, walking 63 times against 57 strikeouts.

The No. 28 pick comes with a signing bonus slot value of $2.49 million. Here is what the pundits are saying about the selection.

PinstripeAlley.com, SB Nation’s Yankees site:

Most public mocks had the Yankees focused on college pitching, but they ultimately with a big college bat in Wells. Rob Manfred announced Wells as a catcher, though it’s anyone’s guess as to what position Wells will man in the pros. Scouts are down on his receiving skills, and the smart money has him ending up in an outfield corner or at first base.

The good news: Wells can hit. He’s put up huge numbers both with Arizona and during the summer in the Cape Cod league, to the tune of a .357/.476/.560 career slash line across both formats. A lefty swinger, the hope is that Wells could be taking advantage of the short porch in Yankee Stadium in a few years. — Jake

I like Wells. He’s a big dude, and he has a power bat. That is exactly my kind of player. Good draft, Yanks, good draft. — Tyler

GRADE: Give me more large baseball players that can rake.

Bleacher Report:

Wells fits the same mold as Kyle Schwarber: a college catcher who is unlikely to stick there in the pros but has a loud enough bat to handle a move to a more offensive-minded position.

The draft-eligible sophomore hit .308/.389/.526 with 13 doubles and seven home runs over 42 games in the Cape Cod League last summer, and he had more walks (63) than strikeouts (57) while posting a 1.035 OPS in 71 games for the Wildcats. He would profile fine at first base, and he might even be able to handle a corner outfield spot.

Grade: B+

The Yankees were linked to college bats throughout the process, and Wells is one of the more advanced hitters in the class. The farm system is thin on polished talent, so he’ll be a welcome addition who could move quickly through the minors.

MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo (via NJ.com):

I think it’s a good pick late in the first round ... That is exactly what the Yankees are buying there and figure out the position when he gets to the pro game. It’s the hit and the power tools that really stand out. He’s always been able to hit. He’s put up very good numbers. Controls the strike zone well, so he’s going to get to that power.

Maybe he’s another guy that you send out as a catcher and see what happens. Unlike Kyle Schwarber, he’s been seen playing other positions. He’s played the outfield. He’s played some first base. So there’s some comfort level knowing that if you have to move him, he’s going to be just fine in any of those spots. That left-handed power, though, should get him to the big leagues quickly.