The Philadelphia Phillies can add another MVP award in the organization, but not how one would think.
Phillies minor league pitcher and Adelaide Giant Lachlan Wells earned the 2024 Helms Award, which is awarded to the Most Valuable Player of the Australian Baseball League. The left-hander was a huge part of the championship run for the Giants, who recently defeated the Perth Heat to become ABL Champions.
The 26-year-old pitched to a 0.94 ERA across 47 2/3 innings during the 2023-24 season. During his outings, the lefty allowed only five earned runs, struck out 63 batters, and finished with a 6-0 record. In every game Wells started, the Giants were victorious.
The Phillies inked Wells to a minor league deal at the beginning of January, but this isn't his first stint in the American baseball system. When he was just 18 years old, Wells signed with the Minnesota Twins and pitched in parts of four seasons in their minor league system between 2015 and 2019.
During his time with the Twins, Wells pitched well in Rookie ball and Low-A but struggled in High-A in 2019, his final season in MILB. Injuries and mental battles over the next two seasons caused the then-25-year-old to step away from baseball in 2022.
The southpaw eventually returned and was better than ever, winning ABL MVP and earning another shot in MLB ranks. Wells has a high release, overhand delivery that shares a similar cadence to this past season's MLB Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
Wells, who isn't on the 40-man roster, will likely start the season in the minor leagues but could quickly find his way to the cusp of a call-up to the majors if he has similar success to his ABL season.
With years of experience in professional baseball, pitching since he was 16 years old, the Australian could be an effective depth piece who could step into multiple roles if needed. A left-handed starter who can get swings and misses is always a great option to have in your back pocket.