The Baltimore Orioles have many critics of their ability to scout and sign players outside of the United States, and quite frankly, most of that criticism is well deserved. But, their signing of Australian left-handed pitcher Alex Wells may prove to be one of their best foreign acquisitions.
Wells, 20, was signed by the Orioles in August of 2015 out of Australia, and he made his organizational debut in 2016.
Ever since he toed the rubber for an Orioles’ affiliate, Wells has been pretty darn good. No scratch that, he’s been dominant.
This season, Wells began and is still currently in the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds starting rotation, and he is making life difficult on South Atlantic League hitters.
Over six starts thus far, Wells is 3-1 with a minuscule 1.19 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. He has allowed just four earned runs this season and 25 hits, holding opponents to a .216 batting average.
His performance thus far has him atop the Orioles’ minor league leader board in ERA (among qualifiers), and he ranks third in the entire SAL in ERA as well.
It’s not as though we haven’t seen him perform well before. Last season, his first in the organization, Wells was both a New York-Penn League and MiLB.com organizational All-Star after his performance with the Short-season A Aberdeen Ironbirds. Over 13 starts, Wells went 4-5 with a 2.15 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP over 62.2 innings pitched. He allowed just one home run the entire seasons and walked just nine!
For those not familiar with him, Wells is not an overpowering pitcher, but he used excellent command and a good mix of pitches to dominate hitters. I’ve seen his fastball hit 90, but he is normally in the upper 80’s. He also adds a nice changeup and a curveball as well. What makes him so tough is his command as he can locate all three of his pitches seemingly wherever he wants and he doesn’t walk anyone.
He won’t light up a radar gun, but he does what you want a pitcher to do, he gets outs while allowing very few runs. I highly recommend keeping an eye on the Australian lefty.
By: Josh Michael