Three former Arizona Wildcats joined the long list of baseball alumni to make the Major Leagues during the 2021 season, and several more are on the cusp of The Show. But none might make more of an immediate impact when they get there than Austin Wells, whose tremendously bright future has been on full display in the Arizona Fall League.
Wells, who played for Arizona in 2019-20, has been named AFL Player of the Week for the second week of competition.
The left-handed hitting catcher, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 6 prospect in the New York Yankees organization, was 7 for 13 with five extra base hits including a home run and five RBI in just three games of competition. Overall he’s hitting .409 in the AFL with a 1.253 OPS in 25 plate appearances.
“I’ve really just been trying to see the ball,” Wells told MLB Pipeline last week. “The first couple of games, I’m just trying to see my pitch and get adjusted to the [strike] zones here and staying short. And it’s been working pretty good.”
Wells, 22, is coming off a 2021 season in which he hit .264 with 16 homers and 76 RBI in 103 games split between a pair of Class-A teams. Picked No. 28 overall by the Yankees in the 2020 draft, Wells was also taken by New York in the 35th round in 2018 out of high school but he opted to play at the UA.
With the Wildcats Wells hit .357 with seven homers and 74 RBI in 71 college games, winning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2019 and earning an MVP nod during the Cape Cod Summer League. His final season at the UA, in 2020, lasted only 15 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in that short span he was hitting .375 with two homers and 14 RBI.
Though drafted as a catcher, Wells also plays first base and left field. MLB.com compares him to Kyle Schwarber.