This top prospect has lofty goals for '24

January 11th, 2024

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NEW YORK -- Going into the 2024 season, catcher is ranked the No. 7 prospect in the Yankees’ farm system, according to MLB Pipeline. He is expected to be in Tampa, Fla., when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 14.

During his time in the Minor Leagues, Wells was considered an offensive-minded receiver. Last season, he had a combined slash line of .240/.333/.442 with 17 homers between Single-A Tampa, Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, earning him his first September callup. After a slow start in the big leagues, the 24-year-old ended the year on a high note, going 11-for-32 (.355) with four home runs and nine RBIs in his final eight games.

Before Wells' nice run, opposing pitchers were starting him off with breaking balls, as he was known to chase those pitches while falling behind in the count. By late September, however, he learned to be patient and was consistently getting on base.

“Once I was able to figure that out -- at least a little bit -- I was able to click and be a little more patient, and I got a lot more pitches to hit,” Wells said via telephone. “[The Yankees] gave me the confidence to go out there in that last month and … be successful. Having the information that we get from the hitting department, [the team] showed me the numbers and made me tighten up my zone -- get my pitch that I’m looking to hit.”

Wells is working hard this offseason to remain consistent in the batter’s box, spending most of the time at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. His goals are to build relationships with the pitching staff while continuing to work on his blocking, throwing and receiving skills.

“Those [last] three aspects of the game are what catchers are judged on these days,” Wells said. “I want to continue to build off the work I’ve had since I got drafted, really. It has been a three-, four-year process to get where I’m at. I want to continue to build off it in every area. I’m trying to get one percent better in all those areas. That’s all I can really do and I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to build upon it this year.”

On the Yankees’ depth chart, Wells is listed as the No. 2 catcher behind Jose Trevino. However, Wells’ sights are set high. He hopes to battle for the starting job as well as help New York win its first World Series since 2009. He is already thinking like a Yankee.

“If you are trying to be a backup, you are in the wrong sport,” Wells said. “Baseball is definitely one of the more competitive sports when it comes to trying to have a job. Going in trying to be the starter, believing you should be the starter and working to be a starter is really the only mindset and choice that you can have if you are a baseball player.

“A player’s success is measured in a lot of different ways, but for us, being successful is ending up with the ring. That is going to be the focal point of the year for sure. Personally, I want to contribute to that in any way possible. Whatever the team needs is what I’m going to do … to help us reach our goals.”