Austin Wells and Pete Crow-Armstrong aren’t even "officially" Yankees or Mets prospects yet, respectively, but they’re already among some of the best.
Baseball Prospectus has posted their initial thoughts and reactions to the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, and while the full write-ups are behind Baseball Prospectus’ paywall, BP Lead Prospect Writer Jeff Paternostro’s rough estimate is that Wells would be “somewhere around sixth” on BP’s Top 10 Yankees prospects list, adding in the zinger that “the only bigger draft curse than being a prep catcher is being a Yankees first-round draft pick.”
That said, while there is concern about the Yankees now having a glut of lower-level catching prospects (especially in a year where a minor-league season appears to be non-existent), Paternostro advocated for keeping Wells behind the plate.
"He can really rake, and the automated strike zone is going to change a lot of things for valuing catchers," Paternostro told me on Thursday afternoon. "Catchers just take a while, and the attrition rate at that position is so high.”
As for Crow-Armstrong, he would be in the middle of the Mets’ Top 10 as well.
“I prefer him to (No. 5 prospect and 2019 first-round pick) Brett Baty and (No. 6 prospect) Mark Vientos, but not strongly,” Paternostro told me. “Finding playing time for him will be no problem. He easily becomes their best outfield prospect, and it’s not even close.”
The placements in the Top 5-ish mark some good company for both players. Wells, if ranked No. 6, would be behind RHP Deivi Garcia, OF Jasson Dominguez, RHP Albert Abreu, RHP Luis Medina, and RHP Luis Gil in the Yankees' system. Shortstop Anthony Volpe, last year’s first-round pick, currently sits at No. 6, and RHP Clarke Schmidt, another former first-rounder, currently sits at No. 9 and would round out the new Top 10.
Crow-Armstrong, meanwhile, would be in the mix with a Mets Top 5 that includes two shortstops – top prospect Ronny Mauricio and No. 3 Andres Gimenez – as well as catcher Francisco Alvarez at No. 2 and RHP Matthew Allan at No. 4. Baty and Vientos, both third basemen, are fifth and sixth, with four pitchers rounding out the current Top 10, including 2017 top pick LHP David Peterson.
MLB Pipeline has the same group in the Mets’ Top 10, and their Top 30 agrees with Paternostro’s assessment of outfield prospects, as they have only three – all of whom are back-to-back at 15-16-17, and all of whom spent 2019 in Rookie ball – in the Top 30 overall.
Paternostro unfortunately isn’t wrong with his Yankees zinger, either; Schmidt appears to be on his way after being the top pick in 2017, but of the 10 Yankees first-round selections between 2009-2016, only two – Aaron Judge (2013) and minor-league infielder Kyle Holder (2015) – are still in the system, and Judge and Slade Heathcott (2009) are the only ones to even play in the Majors so far.