A lively fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a breaking ball that frequently buckles opposing hitters at the plate has proved to be a successful combination for junior pitcher Levi Wells. The Texas Tech transfer pitched to a tune of a 7.64 ERA his freshman year with the Red Raiders, but with a much improved 3.07 ERA in his sophomore year with the Bobcats, Wells has found himself as the premier Friday night starter in the 2023 season.
His time in the Cape Cod Baseball League, an amateur summer league for college baseball players, and his recent performance for Texas State has caught the attention of MLB teams. The upcoming 2023 MLB Draft will see Wells, who’s ranked 49th in MLB.com’s draft prospect rankings in his first year of draft eligibility, drafted in the early rounds.
According to MLB.com, Wells could be the highest Bobcat drafted since 2000 Bobcat first-rounder Blake Williams.
“He has thrust himself into early-round consideration,” MLB.com stated in its scouting report of Wells. “Projected as a reliever when he was a prepster, he now looks like a four-pitch starter with a bulldog attitude.”
During his time with Texas Tech, in the Cape Cod Baseball League and partially through last season, Wells was used as a bullpen piece, where his fastball and offspeed combo played. Throughout this season, however, Wells has started games and is trying to stretch his arm to throw more innings.
“I kind of save stamina to get later into games, let my [velocity] climb a little bit later,” Wells said.
For a Texas State baseball team who had its best season in program history last season, head coach Steven Trout said that the length is what’s expected out of the number one starter on the staff.
“Levi Wells is who we expect to be on Friday nights,” Trout said. “That’s what we need on Friday nights, somebody to go 100, 110 [pitches]... anytime you take your starter over 100 [pitches] and he’s got the same type of stuff, that speaks volumes to his work ethic.”
Wells’ stuff this year has led to an improved strikeout rate over 11.2 innings of work. In 2022, he averaged 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. This year, he’s improved that to 11.6 per nine innings.
Strikeout stuff is present in his arsenal of pitches, which includes a fastball, a traditional slider that he primarily throws to right-handed batters, a 12-4 curveball he throws to lefties with less command than his slider and an occasional changeup. While he’s been used as a bullpen option in years past, Wells' success as a starter has benefitted Trout’s squad this year and may benefit an MLB ball team in the years to come.
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