Levi Wells received the starting nod for Texas State in its NCAA Tournament regional matchup against No. 2 Stanford last year. It was the moment Wells hoped for when he transferred to the Bobcats after his freshman season at Texas Tech.
The right-handed pitcher was a well-regarded recruit coming out of the Texas high school ranks in 2020. Wells didn’t receive a chance to start his freshman year at Texas Tech, though. Instead, he made 17 appearances out of the bullpen, experiencing mixed results.
Transferring to Texas State was the right decision for Wells. Sixteen of his 18 appearances came as a starting pitcher last season, as he posted a 3.36 ERA with 86 strikeouts and 32 walks allowed in 91 innings.
His performance as a starter has enhanced his prospect status. He enters this season as one of the top pitchers in college baseball. Professional scouts project Wells as a potential early-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
“It makes me very grateful for my situation,” Wells said. “It also adds a lot of pressure. Like they say, ‘Pressure makes a diamond.’ I’m not scared of it. I’m not opposed to it. I am just going to keep working hard at it.”
Wells is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a fastball, curveball, slider/cutter and changeup from an over-the-top arm slot. He has cleaned up his delivery throughout his college career, allowing him to throw a higher percentage of strikes.
Wells is an aggressive pitcher and relies heavily on his mid-90s fastball, typically attacking hitters up in the strike zone.
His 12-to-6 curveball is an above-average pitch that tunnels well off his fastball. It features depth and serves as a strikeout pitch. He also mixes in his slider/cutter. He uses his slider against right-handed hitters and the cutter against lefties.
“I have worked really hard since I was 14 years old to stay consistent with the Driveline program,” Wells said. “I like to give credit to Driveline for my fastball. I’m a power right-handed fastball thrower because of my regimen with the weight balls from a young age.”
Wells’ Vulcan changeup is his fourth pitch right now. When his changeup is on, it generates swings and misses. He hasn’t used his changeup often and is working on developing more consistency with the pitch.
“A lot of pitching coaches think you need to throw your changeup the same way as your fastball,” Wells said. “That is not the case. One thing I try to work on and stay fluid with is my hand speed. If my hand speed is the same as my fastball, it will be hard for the hitter to perceive that pitch. My legs aren’t as involved, but my arm speed is the same as the fastball.”
Wells played a key role in Texas State’s success last season. The Bobcats set a program-record 47 wins last season. They won the Sun Belt regular-season championship and received their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2011. They reached the finals of an NCAA Tournament regional, falling to Stanford, who eventually advanced to the College World Series.
Expectations are high for the Bobcats entering this season. They hope to advance to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.
“We have a great culture,” Wells said. “Every day, we are trying to prove ourselves and show the guys who transferred in the right way. We have a good group of guys coming in that want to be a part of it. I’m hoping to pick up where we left off last year.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.