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Vernon Wells is tattooing the ball but it shouldn’t make a difference

Mar 14, 2013, 9:44 AM EDT

Vernon Wells

I saw the headline “Vernon Wells trying to hit his way into the Angels’ outfield,” and my first thought was that this was some sort of Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan situation. WATCH OUT, MIKE TROUT!

But really: Wells is totally raking this spring: .389/.455/.889 with three homers.  granted (a) he’s playing later in games and is thus facing crappier pitching; and  (b) spring training stats aren’t worth a diddly-durn, but after the two years he’s lodged in Anaheim any success on Wells part is worthy of note.

Still, as Anthony Witrado reports in the linked story, Wells just doesn’t have a position. Mike Scioscia is doing the right thing in giving Peter Bourjos every opportunity to play center, making Mark Trumbo his DH, is keeping Trout on a corner, and is relegating Wells to spot-DH duties and a backup outfield role to start the season.

Granted, having Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols at first and right will likely lead to some DL time and that will give Wells and opportunity here and there. But really, this is how it should be. Sizzling spring or not, if Wells is getting, like, 400 plate appearances in 2013, something has gone dreadfully wrong in Anaheim.

  1. carbydrash - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Reminder:

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/3/11/4087430/spring-training-statistics-are-utterly-meaningless
    From article:
    “As you can see, there is no meaningful connection between spring training statistics and the subsequent regular season statistics for hitters. Even after looking at three different offensive metrics the highest correlation we have is with slugging percentage at just .052. The one thing I am surprised at is the fact that there wasn’t a higher correlation between spring training OBP and regular season OBP. If any particular skill would translate in any way I thought it would have been a player’s skill to get on base, but that’s clearly not the case as it has the lowest correlation of the three metrics measured.

    Now that we can all clearly see, and not just assume one way or the other, that spring training statistics have absolutely no predictive value on how well or how poor a hitter will perform in the regular season can we stop discussing it as if it does?”

    • blacksables - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      Players don’t want to walk in spring training. The want to swing the bat. Rookies don’t jobs by walking. Just ain’t gonna happen.

      • carbydrash - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        AH yes, because because managers are impressed by rookie’s who strike out on pitches out of the zone.

        Impressive logic blacksables.

      • blacksables - Mar 14, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        If you’re so smart, use your impressive logic to explain your own statement. I did. Why can’t you.

        What managers want to see is the guys make contact and drive the ball. They want to see a guy running the bases and being aggressive. They want to see gap power and line drives.

        A walk is a walk and you can’t really do anything to improve upon it. Hitting the ball provides many variables.

        Now see, was that hard?

        This is the problem with statistics, whether they be sabermetric or traditional. People quote them and think it makes then knowledgeable about the game.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    He will be remembered chiefly for making Tony Reagins a shoo-in first ballot G.M. Hall of Shamer.

    Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera for Vernon Wells and his maximally-bloated contract. And no cash exchanged hands that we know of. I mean … wow.

    • abaird2012 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      “… that we know of …”

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      I believe that $5 million went to the Angels.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        You believe incorrectly. No cash exchanged hands publically.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        The Jays and Angels may not have made the actual dollar amount public; but, at the time it was widely believed to be $5 million. If you do search the web as I just did, you will find that number being mentioned.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        Oops – my face is red, I stand corrected.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        According to Cot’s, the Blue Jays are paying Wells signing bonus so they are chipping in $3.6M a year in ’13 and ’14(1). Also, as PC mentioned, the Jays kicked in $5M for the trade which both Cots(2) and B-ref.com mention (3).

        1 – https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tWBCtH8eoSECZxhX-dRCHIw&output=html
        2 – http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/al-west/los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim/
        3 – http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/wellsve01.shtml

  3. carbydrash - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    “Granted, having Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols at first and right will likely lead to some DL time ”

    A bit confused as to why Pujols was included in this. He’s never played fewer than 143 games in a season, has had 3 short DL trips in his entire career and ranks 2nd in the league in games played since 2001.

    • paperlions - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Probably because he is starting to show signs of physically breaking down. As position players age, they typically hit the DL much more often and take longer to recover. No player is considered injury prone….until he is, and that can happen at any point in a career. Look at ARods career games played pattern, that is fairly common. Playing 150+ games every year, hit 33 or so and start missing a couple of weeks here and there, then surgeries that have been put off in favor of rehab start to “come due” as things that healed didn’t get all the way back to 100%. Physically, the sport is tough on a body.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Pujols has been limited in spring training due to an off season operation. In one game, the Angels resorted to replacing him on the base paths with a designated runner. Unfortunately for him, they will not be able to do this when the games count.

    • jwbiii - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Check the “Pujols is able to run the bases on his own” post from last night.

  4. albertmn - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    If he can get lucky and get a few hits early in the season to go along with the hot spring, maybe the Angels would only have to eat half his remaining salary to move him in a trade, instead of having to eat 85% of it.

  5. echech88 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Craig, take it from an Angels fan: sadly, this means he will be playing a lot more than he would had he just been mediocre this spring.

    Not everyday, but he will probably see a significant spike in his starts because of this.

    Scioscia loves veterans and is notorious for giving guys like Vernon absurdly long leashes. After Vernon’s historically awful 2011 season, Sciosca was actually talking about trying him in the 2-spot in the lineup last March. That is not a joke. He actually said that.

    • dondada10 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Funny how the general impression of Scioscia has changed since he lost Joe Maddon as his bench coach.

      • unclearnie - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        And Bud Black (Padres) and Ron Roenicke (Brewers)

  6. seitz26 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    if Wells is getting, like, 400 plate appearances in 2013, something has gone dreadfully wrong in Anaheim.

    Or more likely those PAs aren’t coming in Anaheim. If he finishes the Spring strong, I could see someone taking a flyer on him if the Angels eat virtually all of his contract. But yeah, if he get 400 PAs in an Angel uniform, the Angels are in trouble.

    • dondada10 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      If the Angels eat the vast majority of his money (leaving only 4-6 mil to be covered), I can see a team taking a flier on him. The Yankees and Mets both come to mind.

  7. iamjimmyjack - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    I’m happy for wells…we need a quality backup. But no matter how good he hits, and no matter how bad bourjos may hit (I think he’ll hit great), bourjos provides more value because of his defense and base running.

  8. Old Gator - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    The Feesh would take him if the Halos choked down all but the MLB minimum of his salary, and then passed along that $5 million, just to keep it in circulation, you know? Palanco is having back trouble again and the Feesh will probably need another non-third baseman to replace him at third base.

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