It is no secret that New York Yankees‘ catchers leave plenty to be desired offensively.
The tandem of Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka have not produced much at the plate, posting a combined .210/.262/.350 batting line in 168 plate appearances entering Friday. Their .612 OPS is 25th in the majors. It is a gaping black hole for a team that has struggled to consistently score runs this season.
Meanwhile, there is a potential solution in the minors. Austin Wells has been on fire since returning to the Somerset Patriots, posting a .286/.352/.714 batting line with six homers and three doubles in his 54 plate appearances. Although he has just over 300 plate appearances of experience at Double-A, that production will generate attention.
Austin Wells’ time coming soon with New York Yankees
The biggest obstacle is his defense. Wells does not have a strong arm, something that has been the case since he underwent shoulder surgery in college. While he has worked on his defense, specifically improving his receiving and throwing, the results have been middling. Wells has drastically decreased his passed balls, but he is throwing out just 9% of would-be base stealers in Double-A. With stolen bases having more importance, that is not going to be good enough.
Conversely, Higiashioka and Trevino have excelled defensively. They have saved eight runs behind the plate thus far, and while they have combined to throw out just 19% of would-be base stealers, that is not far from the league average. That duo is earning their keep behind the plate.
Ultimately, the Yankees will need to make a decision. Wells is likely to be promoted to Triple-A at some point this season, getting closer to the majors. If he continues to hit, and the Yankees lineup keeps struggling, he could force the issue. It will be a matter of whether or not his offensive potential is more important than their need for defense behind the plate.
There are already whispers about Austin Wells joining the New York Yankees. His defense is the only thing holding him back right now.