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Entries in Vernon Wells (5)


Why the Yankees have gone 23-28 Since May 26

This is not a look at the injuries, turmoil, or the budgetary restrictions of the 2013 New York Yankees.

To quote Dragnet's Joe Friday, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Since May 26

After play on May 26, the Yankees were 30-19 (.612) and basically tied with the Red Sox who were 31-20 (.608) for first place. Since that date, the Yankees have been 23-28 (.451) the third worst record in the AL, only "better" than the Astros 20-29 (.408) and the White Sox 15-34 (.306).

With their victory last night, Boston for the 58th consecutive day remained in first place in the AL East, but don't be misled by that, they have only pulled away from the Yankees and Jays (24-25). Boston and Baltimore each have played 30-21 ball since then and the Rays have a 34-18 record, the best record in baseball since that date. 

So what's gone wrong for the Yankees?

Nine to Know since May 26:

  1. The Yankees are hitting .238 as a team, the Astros at .223 are the only team with a lower batting average.
  2. The Bronx Bombers have hit 27 homers, only the Giants with 24 have hit fewer long balls.
  3. The Yankees have a .303 OBP, topping only the Marlins (.299) and the Astros (.284).
  4. Travis Hafner has hit .160 with four homers and Vernon Wells has hit .207 with no homers.
  5. The 3-4-5 batters have a slash line of .221/.294/.337.
  6. From the 7th inning on, the Yankees are hitting .213 tied with the Brewers for the worst BA in baseball.
  7. Yankees from the right side of the plate are hitting .206/.267/.253. Their .520 OPS is the worst in baseball (the Tigers righties' OPS is .807).
  8. Andy Pettitte is 3-4 with 5.04 ERA and 1.410 WHIP.
  9. CC Sabathia is 5-4 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP. 

Should Joe Girardi be manager of the year?

This has been a trying season for Yankee Universe and there is no indication that it is going to get much better.

Brian Cashman keeps working the phones, Joe Girardi keeps working on keeping his non-injured players looking for wins, and the press keeps working on the impending Alex Rodriguez bombshell. 

The fact that the Yankees are just seven back in the AL East and just 5.5 back in the AL Wild Card race has some people talking about Girardi as Manager of the Year.

While Girardi would appreciate this memorable honor, I'm sure in future years Girardi will be doing everything he can to forget this season, not remember it.




Vernon Wells to join in the New York decline

Over the last five seasons, Vernon Wells has hit .258 with 102 homers, 327 RBI, with a .306 OBP, .448 slugging pct., and .754 OPS. He has struck out 337 times in 2587 PA.

That, of course, only tells part of the of the story.

When you look at the five seasons from 2002-06, Wells hit .288 with 139 homers, 487 RBI, with a .336 OBP, .499 slugging pct., and .835 OPS. He struck out 424 times in 3328 PA.

The differences are astounding. 

Still just 34, Wells is approaching the final two years of the seven-year, $126 million contract he signed with the Jays in 2008. They traded him to the Angels before the start of the 2011 season and these two years have been awful, with Wells hitting just .222 wth 36 homers.

Wells with the Angels

Over the last two seasons, he's hit .218 against the fastball, .218 against the change-up, .155 against the curve, and .235 against the slider.

On to New York

Now, he is heading to the Yankees with the New Yorkers responsible or around $13M of the remaining two years of the contract and there are discussions being held as to whether New York can pay most of that in the 2013 season with the hope of getting under 189M prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Over the last five seasons, Wells hasn't shown much in New York, but it is better than in some other locales

Wells has hit .277 (32-118) with seven homers (six hit 2008-10) and 21 strikeouts.

Stranger things have happened, but all indications are the Yanks have not done much to improve themselves with this move, but only time will tell.


Down the Wells

Vernon Wells of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim own the lowest OBP in the major leagues among hitters with at least 350 plate appearances.  Looking over various numbers for Vernon over the last four seasons, you can see the deterioration:


Vernon Wells OBP K% BB% Strk% Ball%
2008 Season 0.343 0.10 0.06 0.629 0.371
2009 Season 0.311 0.13 0.07 0.621 0.379
2010 Season 0.331 0.13 0.08 0.625 0.375
2011 Season 0.241 0.17 0.04 0.658 0.342
Vernon Wells OBP BABIP Swng% InPl% Miss% Chas% Line%
2008 Season 0.343 0.293 0.467 0.526 0.160 0.321 0.165
2009 Season 0.311 0.279 0.461 0.506 0.173 0.311 0.162
2010 Season 0.331 0.272 0.498 0.488 0.208 0.313 0.177
2011 Season 0.241 0.207 0.510 0.457 0.218 0.345 0.126


In the three previous seasons, Wells did not post a great OBP, but it wasn't terrible, either.  They varied from a bit above average to a bit below average.  Both his strikeout and walk rates were rising slowing over the three previous seasons, but in 2011 the K rate sky rocketed while the walk rate fell in half.    That's not surprising given that his strike and ball rates went in the same direction.

More strikeouts mean fewer balls in play, so Wells would need more of those finding holes for hits to make up for the Ks.  Instead, his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) dropped 65 points.  Vernon suffers the double whammy, fewer balls in play, and a much lower percentage going for hits.

Why?  His approach at the plate is off.  He's swinging at more pitches, and missing on more of those swings.  Part of that comes from chasing more balls out of the strike zone.  When he does make contact, few of those balls result in line drives, the type of ball in play most likely to result in a hit.

Often times, a low BABIP is indicative of bad luck.  Given all the statistics that deteriorated for Wells this year, this looks more like a drop in skill level than a fluke bad season.


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