April 06, 2010

Why You Should Believe In Vernon Wells

I believe in Vernon Wells. You know that. Even more so after his performance yesterday in Arlington; he left me tingling with excitement. You know how I roll: I don't hop aboard the nearest lifeboat, or even reach for a life jacket. I grab an instrument, and start playing. I go down with the ship.

But this isn't about me. It's about you. And why you ought to join me on the Vernon Wells Express. Next stop: Redemption City.

Before I get into the details, it's important to, once again, point out that Wells' play will never justify his contract. Never. Ever. The perfect storm led to Wells signing for $126 million over seven years (!!!!!111) back in 2006, and you can't be mad at him for signing on the dotted line. You would have done the same. It's best to let your anger go, and instead hope that Wells can once again become a functioning member of baseball society here in Toronto. Because the good Lord above knows he won't be plying his trade anywhere else.

Since becoming the Toronto Blue Jays' everyday centre fielder way back in 2002, Wells has posted four sub-.800 OPS seasons. Here they are:

2002: .275/.305/.457; 23 HR, 100 RsBI; .762 OPS
2005: .269/.320/.463; 28 HR, 97 RsBI; .783 OPS
2007: .245/.304/.402; 16 HR, 80 RsBI; .706 OPS
2009: .260/.311/.400; 15 HR, 66 RsBI; .711 OPS

I know what you're thinking: I'd love an hour alone with former Jays president Paul Godfrey, too. In Vernon's defence, his 2005 OPS+ comes in at 104; very slightly above average. But the injuries, and the recent drop in power numbers, are deeply concerning. Again, what's done is done. Here's what matters: Wells has always bounced back.

2003: .317/.359/.550; 33 HR, 117 RsBI; .909 OPS
2006: .303/.357/.542; 32 HR, 106 RsBI; .899 OPS
2008: .300/.343/.496; 20 HR, 78 RsBI; .840 OPS
2010: (projected) .750/.750/1.500; 162 HR, 486 RsBI; 2.250 OPS

Injuries limited Wells to only 108 games in 2008, but he was on pace for one of the better seasons of his career. And those 108 games proved, to these eyes, that Wells doesn't need a Carlos Delgado or a Troy Glaus batting behind him to succeed. Wells was Toronto's only legitimate power threat two years ago; no other Blue Jay hit more than 15 home runs.

The point is: history only repeats itself. If Opening Day is any indication, 2010 will be the year of Vernon Wells.

(You know that bit about history only repeating itself? Let's hope that's not the case in terms of Wells following up a great year - 2006 and 2008 - with a tremendously awful one.)


William said...

I think Wells will have a big year and win Comeback Player of the Year. How's that for belief?

Not a good start for your new closer though...

brandon said...

Omfg Im half asleep and just read that post. Started staring at those wells nnumbers, and saw the project for 2010. Put a big smile on my face and got a good chuckle.

Kelly Gregg for closer!!!

Vdub for mayor

Anonymous said...

We should be "guarded" now, no?

eyebleaf said...

@ William: That's pretty good. And Frasor will bounce back. The Sausage King ain't going out like that.

@ Brandon: It's the projected RsBI numbers that I'm really looking forward to. And if V-Dub is running for mayor of our great city, he's got my vote.

@ Anonymous: Due to the fact that everyone is taking his performance yesterday with a grain of salt, saying he hit well on the road last year, etc., I think we stay at ELEVATED. We must remain vigilant!!!1

Ian H. said...

It might just be one game, but I'm back on board. Not just because of the home run, but because he came through when it meant the most - with runners in scoring position.

V-Dub hit .205 last year with RISP, and now as the pseudo-permanent cleanup guy, he is going to need to step up his game especially with RISP.

eyebleaf said...

@ Ian: Welcome back.

Wells' batting average with RISP in his bounce back years:

2003: .310 (RISP, 2 out: .329)
2006: .302 (RISP, 2 out: .270)
2008: .302 (RISP, 2 out: .290)

He got off to the right start, yesterday. And those 2008 numbers came while hitting cleanup. He'll do it again.

Hungry Leafs Fan said...

Amen. I like what you're selling and I'll take 2 please. This is the year of the V-Dub!

Aquamelli said...

I believe in Vernon Wells!

infieldfly said...

I'm on board. Always have been. I'm a firm believer Wells was so much better on the road last year because he didn't have to deal with the boos. Come on people, let's show him some love!

Mattt said...

I'll take even half of the projected 162 home runs and still be satisfied...

twentyfifthhour said...

I'm going to wear my Wells jersey proudly this year. I mentioned to you before opening day that I was renewing my faith in him.

I think he's going to do alright.

eyebleaf said...

@ Hungry: "This is the year of the V-Dub!" might make for a good sign on Opening Night.

@ Aquamelli: Preach on.

@ infieldfly: "Don't Boo Vernon" is in the lead right now for Opening Night signage. I will lose my shit if I hear anyone boo him on Monday.

@ Mattt: I like to think he can keep that projected pace. He's Vernon Wells. He can do anything he wants.

@ 25th: Your attitude towards Wells last season was nothing short of DISGUSTING. But, we all stumble. We all make mistakes. It's good to have you back.

Archimedies said...

I am definitely bringing a "I Believe In Vernon Wells!" sign to the Home Opener.

The fact of the matter is, we're stuck with Vernon whether we like it or not. He's the 'clubhouse leader' and by all accounts, a really good guy off the field.

V-Dub 2010! Beleive!!1

Andy Mc said...


.300/.350/.500 30/100 BITCHEZZZ

Johnny G said...

If Vernon Wells has a good second game to go along with the 1st you need to make sure not to change the VWHAS all year least we risk changing the karma.

eyebleaf said...

@ Archi: I can lend you my old sign. It's in excellent condition. Reading about Wells' exploits on the off-day yesterday prove that he is an all-star off the field. He's giving back to the community. Have to respect that.

@ Andy Mc: I'll gladly take an .850 OPS.

@ Johnny G: You may be on to something. Wells is batting .357 over his career vs. Harden (only 14 ABs, but I don't give a shit).

Escaped Lab Rat said...

you can count me in on the V-Dub express...I traded Jason Heyward for him this year, for heaven's sake

also just read the SI article on Halladay...damn, I hope he wins in Philadelphia