2018 Level: A+
Current/Future/Ceiling Grades: 25/45/50
What we know:
Wells is a young pitcher from Australia with mediocre stuff but above average pitchability. His fastball sits 88-91 mph with a little natural cutting action. His velocity hasn’t increased and his frame is mostly filled out, so it’s hard to expect more coming. He also throws a big loopy curveball, he can throw it for strikes at will and commands it well. It’s only a fringe average pitch, because it’s lacks the bite to fool hitters, but he can steal a strike with it and get some groundballs. His best pitch is his changeup which is quite deceptive and has the opposite horizontal movement of his fastball which lets it play up. Despite the lack of a big fastball, he pitches heavily off the fastball and can be pinpoint at times with his command. He did have some issues this season losing the fastball up in the zone, often 10+ times per start. This led to an increase in walk rate and some hard contact when he falls behind in the count.
What we don’t know:
Will he learn how to pitch backwards? He can throw the changeup and curveball for strikes but he throws primarily fastballs. He’s especially stingy with changeup usage. If he’s going to pitch in the majors with his velocity, he’ll need to implement his offspeed stuff more. Will the command make it to plus? He needs plus command for his profile to work, the stuff is just too hittable otherwise. The inconsistency with fastball location this season needs to be remedied.
What we think:
Despite the concerns above, Wells managed to pitch to a 3.47 ERA with half his games in one of the best hitters parks in the minors. He gets guys out, he learns from his mistakes, and if some one beats him on a pitch, you better believe the guy won’t ever see that pitch in that location again. He’s always trying to add a wrinkle to his game, last year it was running the fastball in on the hands of RHB, this year it was trying to take hitters up the ladder. While Wells is unlikely to add velocity, we think he’s the type of cerebral player who will max his physical abilities enough to be a crafty left-handed #5 starter/swingman type.
By: Luke Siler