Austin Wynns is not a household name for any Orioles fan. Not many fans recognize the tenth-round pick out of Fresno State, and not many would be too impressed even after watching him. He has hit .234 since being drafted last year. So what is so special about this guy?
Wynns will not impress you if you only watch him once. However, after you watch him four or five times, you will see why the O’s drafted him in the tenth round. It was not for his bat, although he does have the ability to drive the ball. It was for his defense.
Wynns is a rock behind the dish. He knows how to call a game. He helped lead an IronBirds pitching staff to a division championship last year. This is especially impressive considering that he had never worked with any of those pitchers. Wynns had to learn his pitchers, as well as opposing hitters, on the fly, and he did so very well.
Wynns also has phenomenal footwork behind the plate. He has a quick release, and his arm is strong. Baserunners are reluctant to run on him. He also played some first base at Fresno State, so he can play there in a pinch.
Wynns will have a hill to climb just like any other tenth-round pick. He’s never going to be a major league all-star, and I don’t think he’ll ever be a starting catcher in the bigs. Chance Sisco will be on a faster track than him, so he is not going to be Delmarva’s everyday catcher for a while. However, Buck Showalter said that Steve Clevenger won the backup catching job because of his defense this spring. Wynns fits that bill pretty well, and I do not think O’s fans would have much to complain about with a Sisco-Wynns combo in Baltimore in a few years.