Rookie Catcher Austin Wells' Bat Heats Up, Lifts Yankees In Late Innings

Photo: Instagram/Austin Wells

Austin Wells, the rookie catcher, dedicated himself to his defensive skills from his early days in the big leagues.

His focus was on calling games for top-tier pitchers while waiting for his batting to improve, a strategy that had worked for him in the past. During his September debut, Wells not only showcased his improved arm and presence but also studied how opponents approached him, a strategy that eventually paid off.

In a crucial moment, Wells broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, leading the Yankees to a 2-0 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. With just five games left in the season, the Yankees aimed to avoid their first losing season since 1992 with their 80-77 record.

Photo: Instagram/Austin Wells

Wells, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect, had hit his third Major League homer and was poised to compete for playing time behind the plate next season, potentially challenging Jose Trevino. Although he started slowly at the plate after being promoted from Triple-A, Wells made adjustments to his batting technique, resulting in two homers in as many games and three in his last five contests.

Manager Aaron Boone praised Wells for his improved hitting and ability to drive the ball. Wells' homer proved pivotal, as starting pitcher Michael King continued to impress, making a strong case for a spot in the 2024 Yankees' rotation.

Despite a challenging outing with five walks in six innings, King maintained a 1.49 ERA since joining the rotation in mid-August. The Blue Jays' starter, Kevin Gausman, also put on a strong performance, holding the Yankees hitless until the sixth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton's double in the seventh gave New York a scoring opportunity, but a close play at home plate prevented a run. Both teams had their chances, and King credited Wells for helping him navigate a tense situation in the third inning when the bases were loaded.

Wells' ability to communicate the scouting report on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. played a pivotal role in King's success. Wells emphasized the support he received from clubhouse members, especially the pitchers, who helped him transition to the Majors by providing valuable insights into their pitching strategies.

His improved game-calling and confidence in calling pitches were a testament to their guidance.

Read Next: Baseball Icon And Orioles Legend Brooks Robinson Passes Away at 86

Source: MLB

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