Alexander Wells fulfills a dream with addition to Orioles' 40-man roster - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Alexander Wells fulfills a dream with addition to Orioles’ 40-man roster

It was 9 on Wednesday morning in Australia when Alexander Wells got on a video conference call to speak about his place on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. The Orioles added him on November 20th, a move many didn’t see coming.

The 23-year-old left-hander hasn’t been in the United States since the early days of the pandemic. He went back to Australia along with his twin brother, Lachlan, a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization.

“I was able to play catcher with my twin brother,” Wells said. “I was able to throw bullpens to a local catcher and also threw in a couple of scrimmage games that we had going on. I was able to get some type of work in, so it was good.”

Wells wasn’t seen as a surefire candidate for the 40-man roster because he wasn’t at the Bowie alternate site or the Instructional League in Sarasota, Florida.

“It definitely crossed my mind thinking that I didn’t get over there this year,” Wells said. “Had I done enough in the past to be protected? It crossed my mind a little bit, but I tried not to think about it too much, just let it happen.

“To get protected by the Orioles just gave me an extra bit of confidence to know that they trust me enough to go up to the big leagues and go out there and compete with my type of pitching.”

When executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias explained Wells’ addition, he said he was comfortable that he had acceptable ways to train in Australia.

“Guys who wanted to take at-bats came down to the field,” Wells said. “They stood in and took some at-bats. I had guys to throw to, so it wasn’t simulated innings, a lot of just throwing to the catcher and pretending there was a hitter in the box.”

While Covid-19 is again at a frightening stage in the United States, Wells says that’s not the case back home.

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“It’s actually pretty good here at the moment,” he said. “Where I live, in my state, we haven’t had a local case of Covid-19 in, I think, 24 days now, so we’re doing pretty good. Restrictions have started to ease. We’re allowed to eat, outdoor dining, indoor dining, a lot of stuff, get back to some kind of normal, which is good.”

In 2017, Wells was named the organization’s top minor league pitcher when he walked just 10 batters in 140 innings and had a 2.38 ERA for Low-A Delmarva. By 2019, Wells moved up to Bowie, where he was 8-6 with a 2.95 ERA. In his minor league career, he’s averaged just over one walk per nine innings.

During 2019, Wells began throwing a slider with some success.

“It’s definitely a keeper,” Wells said. “I’ve continued to work with [Director of Pitching] Chris Holt whenever I can with it. I’m just going to get more confidence in throwing it to hitters, and once I do that, it’s going to be a very handy pitch for me in the future.”

Wells doesn’t know where he’ll begin the 2021 season. The Orioles have yet to announce their minor league affiliates.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit different with the global pandemic and the setbacks that we didn’t play this year,” he said. “It’s going to be a bit of a challenge, but I’m sure we’ll get through it.”

Wells has started 86 games in the minor leagues and isn’t concerned about the lost season.

“I don’t think it’s going to do too much damage or hurt me,” he said. “I was consistently throwing to live hitters over here, consistently throwing upwards of three innings … four-inning stints when I was going to the mound.

“I think I’ve thrown a decent amount of innings where that’s not going to be an issue for me. I feel like I can just go to spring training and have a normal spring training and build up pretty good.”

Spring training is scheduled to begin on February 15th, and Wells said that he doesn’t foresee any issues coming from Australia to the States because he’s on a work visa.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to do a quarantine stint when I first get over there,” he said.

Wells’ morning was late afternoon on the East Coast. Australia is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Time, something his baseball buddies in the States forget.

“I caught up with a couple of guys,” he said. “I called them when it was about midnight here a couple of times, or a couple of guys called me mid-morning here, which is late afternoon/early evening. The time difference, I think, most of my teammates have figured out by now. I’ve been around them for a while.

“If they call me early in the morning, and I don’t answer, I think they know why. I’m still asleep.”

Arbitration update: According to a report by MLB.com, catcher Pedro Severino agreed to a one-year, $1.85 million contract, avoiding arbitration. The Orioles have six other players who must be offered contracts by 8 p.m. Wednesday — first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, outfielder Anthony Santander, infielders Hanser Alberto, Yolmer Sanchez and Pat Valaika and right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    December 2, 2020 at 7:08 am

    Not sure about severino, hasn’t finished a regular or very shortened season strong…oh well…go O’s…

    • Birdman

      December 2, 2020 at 7:36 am

      But who is your alternative at catcher for 2021 — do you rush Rutschman (see Rich’s column yesterday) who has played only 37 professional games, or go with Sisco (.205 career BA, and 40% strikeout rate) as your starter?

    • CalsPals

      December 2, 2020 at 9:33 am

      Yes to either option….go O’s…

      • Birdman

        December 2, 2020 at 9:51 am

        neither likely to be an upgrade in 2021 … sounds like you want to “tank” in 2021

        • VICTORTEE

          December 2, 2020 at 10:31 am

          Do you think Elias doesn’t want to tank? Remember he was a member of the “Tankers R Us” Astros.

    • CalsPals

      December 2, 2020 at 10:48 am

      Definitely not into tanking, Sisco would be an upgrade if given at bats & starts, Rutschman would DEFINITELY be an upgrade, so not sure how you consider this tanking…go O’s…

      • Birdman

        December 2, 2020 at 11:04 am

        Rutschman will eventually be an upgrade but, as Rich pointed out, with only 37 games of professional experience, no way to say he is ready to be an MLB starter at the beginning of 2021 … playing college ball, even at the highest level, is not equivalent to experience competing entirely against professionals in the minor leagues.

        As for Sisco, I wish him well, but he has played parts of four major league seasons, and shown virtually no offensive improvement … a .200 hitter, with a strikeout rate in Crush Davis territory.

        Severino is no star (that’s why he is making “only” $1.8 million), but he is certainly the best option the Orioles have to start 2021 at catcher.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          December 2, 2020 at 2:38 pm

          I’m not sure what you see in Severino. Woefully lacking behind the plate, and was unable to sustain his numbers at the plate after a great, albeit short start to the season.

          Severino is lacking.

    • CalsPals

      December 2, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Will agree to disagree that severino is our best option at catcher, & would imagine given the choice of those two on a team starting next yr, almost 100% would choose Rutschman…go O’s…

  2. Orial

    December 2, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Wells comes across as an interesting prospect. Not a flamethrower,mixed bag BUT keeps the ball in the park and walks very few. That kind of makeup may just work at OPACY. Everybody loves the heat pitchers but Valdez raised an eyebrow or two so maybe Wells may just work out. Now gotta find a way to get him here. As far as Severino–if he can spend Spring Training learning how to keep the ball in front of him I might just be ok with it. He definitely has pop(though it did fade).

  3. CalsPals

    December 2, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Yes to either option….go O’s…

  4. Tony Paparella

    December 2, 2020 at 9:45 am

    I have mentioned before I have followed Wells and believe he can be a solid pitcher in the Bigs.Again though that is just an amateurs professional opinion. You have to like his control and his stats and just hope he gets some real upscale opportunities this year. Getting Severino in the fold makes me concerned about Sisco’s future with the club as I still believe there is hope for him. My opinion is he was jerked around too much when they brought him up and played him on and off then, sent him back down and so forth. They should have put him in the lineup consistently and let him work things out.Not sure where he stands now, and he probably doesn’t either which is exactly what I am talking about.

  5. Bhoffman1

    December 2, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Don’t get the Severino singing . His defense has gone south and his hitting really dived big time in the last half. Sisco needs to play everyday to see if he’s a player probably he’s not but that’s why we drafted Adley. Austin Wynns is a capable backup till the future arrives

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 2, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Bruce, I thought the Orioles would probably retain Severino because the alternatives weren’t better. I think they’ll still try to sign another veteran catcher, probably to a minor league deal as they did with Taylor Davis and Bryan Holaday. Wynns remains with the team, but since he’s out of options, he may not pass through waivers if they send him down again.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 2, 2020 at 2:47 pm

        Rich … I don’t remember the name, but the Orioles once traded a relatively-highly thought of catching prospect to, I believe it was the Rays, for Steve Pearce’s return a few years back.

        Do you remember the player’s name, and do you know what became of him? I’m just wondering if we gave something substantial up in that guy that might have been paying dividends today?

        • Rich Dubroff

          December 2, 2020 at 10:36 pm

          It was Jonah Heim, who the Rays used to trade to Oakland for Joey Wendle. Heim played in 11 games for the Athletics in 2020.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            December 3, 2020 at 2:13 pm

            Thank you Rich. I guess I could have looked that up, but why bother when we have you?

            With 11 games played, I guess we’ll have to wait a while to see if we gave up anything in Mr. Heim.

            Thanks again,

    • Bhoffman1

      December 2, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      I wonder what Elias has in mind then for Sisco. He doesn’t fare well as a part time player and with Adley around the corner maybe it’s time to see what you could get for him if anything

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 2, 2020 at 5:04 pm

        Long term … I’d keep him around in a full time DH/backup catcher role. He could also serve as backup to Mountcastle at 1st base. Again…I’m thinking long term. I know…that’s Mancini’s job right now, but frankly, I don’t see the O’s keeping Trey long term. He’ll price himself out of the O’s future in the next couple of years.

        Put Sisco to work this year. If he doesn’t cut it …. then maybe it’s time to part ways. He just needs more ABs. I’m stickin’ to that.

    • CalsPals

      December 2, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      Totally agree, he needs to be a regular in the line up if their not gonna have Rutschman catch…severino was a wasted signing…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      December 2, 2020 at 6:56 pm

      I agree with both of your comments but the signing of Severino looks like Sisco is delegated to part time play and we all know he needs regular play to get his confidence get in a groove if that’s a possibility without that forget it for him

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