With the 2020 MLB Draft now in the books, it’s time to look back at the picks that the New York Yankees made and evaluate each.
Round 1, Pick 28 – Austin Wells, C, University of Arizona
A former Red Sox fan, the left-handed Wells was a wanted man by the Yankees. They had originally drafted him in the 35th round of the 2018 draft, but he decided to keep his commitment to Arizona.
“It was honestly the best decision I could have made,” Wells told reporters on Thursday. “I grew as a player. I grew as a leader.”
Standing at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, many scouts have wondered whether he can stay behind the plate, as he might’ve already outgrown the position. He’s not a great blocker or pitch framer, and his arm is erratic.
Part of MLB Pipeline’s report on Wells says, “There are more concerns about where he might play defensively. He’s adequate behind the plate, and while his arm stroke and release are fine, his throws are inconsistent. He is a decent enough athlete to play first or figure things out in left field.”
Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer believes that Wells can be a catcher, and said that the Yankees will give the 20-year-old the chance to prove himself as a catcher before potentially moving positions.
“The coaching just hasn’t been the best coaching for him as a catching guy,” Oppenheimer on Friday. “Nothing against the guys that have coached him, but we’ve got guys that are much better at it.”
Wells admitted that he’s okay with moving positions (although he’s working on his defense) and that he’s “willing to do whatever it takes to get to the big leagues.”
He added, “I’ll just hit home runs at Yankee Stadium and play wherever they need me to.”
In 71 games at Arizona, Wells hit .351 with seven homers, 74 RBI, and a .560 slugging percentage. He did strike out quite a bit (57 times) but also walked at a frequent rate (57 times).
The ball jumps off of his bat with high exit velocities and a pull-oriented approach, but he can hit to all fields.
He already has one of the highest offensive ceilings in the Yankees’ farm system.
Round 3, Pick 99 – Trevor Hauver, 2B, Arizona State University
Another lefty whose bat carries him, Hauver played left field throughout his three seasons at Arizona State but has told the Yankees that he’d like to go back to playing in the infield.
In 17 games this season, he had a slash line of .339/.494/.695 and added five home runs and 20 RBI.
He hit .316 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI throughout his three seasons.
He struck out (89) more than he walked (71), but he dramatically improved his pitch selection during his final season.
Baseball America said in their scouting report that “the biggest step forward for Hauver, who already had a good approach at the plate and good barrel control, was his improved pitch selection, walking more than he struck out during the abbreviated 2020 college season while still hitting for both average and power.”
He’ll play either second or third base and could become one of the Yankees’ top prospects at either position as neither are that deep in their farm system.
Round 4, Pick Pick 129 – Beck Way, RHP, Northwest Florida State
With their final pick in the draft, the Yankees drafted JUCO product Beck Way. He was set to transfer to LSU but the Yankees will look to sign him instead.
“He’s an athletic, still-projectable right-hander who could end up with solid-average or better pitches and gets deception from his delivery,” Keith Law said.
Standing at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Way has an easy delivery and good command on both sides of the plate with a fastball between 91 MPH and 95 MPH, plus a solid changeup and slider.
MLB Pipeline says that Way “uses a three-quarters delivery to bring three pitches which have the chance to be average or better. He’ll throw his fastball in the 91-95 mph range and can reach back for a tick or two more. His slider is very good when he stays on top of the low-80s breaking ball, but he can get under it at times. He doesn’t use his mid-80s changeup much, but he’s athletic enough to believe it will be an effective offering in the future.”
One Yankees scout said that he was a standout in the Cape Cod League last summer as he went on a run where he struck out 18 batters across 13 innings.
“Scouts, especially the Yankees, think he can start,” MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo said. “He moved into the rotation this spring and he showed off that his stuff plays over the course of a start. I think he’s going to have a chance to have three very good pitches. There’s some projection, I think, still to come. He’s a guy who really moved up a big because of the spring, as short as it was, because he showed that he could pitch extended innings. The stuff didn’t suffer at all. Expect him to go out with the Yankees as a starter once he does.”