Following the 2017 MLB Draft last month, the farms of all 30 MLB teams were ranked by numerous baseball writers around the nation, and in the case of the Baltimore Orioles, it came as no surprise they ranked towards the lower end of the scale.
For some years now, the Orioles farm has been pretty bare and lacking excitement. Seemingly, prospect after prospect has been either traded away for more immediate needs, or failed to live up to lofty expectations. Of the current pitching crop, Cody Sedlock, Tanner Scott, and Keegan Akin provide the most hope, however another young arm is rapidly rising up the list of top prospects.
20-year-old Australian Alex Wells, who made his professional debut with the Aberdeen Ironbirds last year, has followed up a great rookie year with even more outstanding performances in 2017. In doing so, he has captured the attention of those both within the organization and outside of it.
Pitching in 13 games last year (62.2 innings), Wells worked to an impressive 2.15 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, striking out 50 and walking just nine. These impressive numbers lead to a NYP All-Star selection and numerous awards, including the Ironbirds MVP award and an MILB.com Organizational All-star honor.
After being promoted to the Delmarva Shorebirds to start the 2017 season, Wells has continued his development and currently owns a 9-4 record through 19 starts (108.0 innings), while working to a 2.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. His success lead to a DAL All-Star selection and once again, he’s putting himself in line for more honors come season’s end. Throughout his 19 outings, the impressive control has once again been on display, striking out 84 and walking just 10. More recently, Wells has worked through 30.0 consecutive scoreless innings and has even started to draw interest from opposing teams as the MLB trade deadline nears.
Speaking with Wells shortly after his professional debut last year, he emphasized his simple approach on the mound – focusing on control of his three pitches (fastball, breaking ball, change up) and hitting his spots on the inside and outside of the plate. A ground ball pitcher who works to contact, the 6’1″, 190-pound southpaw possesses a maturity beyond his years and a promotion to the Frederick Keys appears to be on the horizon. His pitchability, hard work ethic, and sound temperament is set to ensure continued success, and with that, his ceiling as a back-of-the-rotation starter will be realized.