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Just The Sports: Where Have You Gone Vernon Wells?

Just The Sports

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Where Have You Gone Vernon Wells?

All of my predictions and assessments may not turn out to be correct when the future events actually take place, but more often than not I am correct, not because I am superbly prescient but because I actually use statistical data to formulate my conclusions. In that way, I must be separated from Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, who is the black sheep of the sabermetrician world due to all of his ill-conceived transactions including signing Vernon Wells to a seven-year, $126 million contract extension. Last season, when Ricciardi stated he would not give Wells a Carlos Beltran-sized contract (seven-year, $119 million contract with $11 million signing bonus) I applauded him for finally showing restraint only to watch him throw his money away on Wells anyway, who has only had two superb seasons, 2003 and 2006 in his eight-year, going on nine-year, career.

Although Wells is by no means the worst center fielder in the league, I suggested to Ricciardi that he wait for Wells to replicate his 2006 performance in the 2007 season. Ricciardi refused to accept my unsolicited advice and Wells has to be eternally thankful for that because he is in no way replicating last year.

Through fifty-four games, Wells is lagging far behind the numbers he put up last season in the first fifty-four games he played. Of course he was always going to have trouble putting up the same numbers, but one could expect a better effort out of him than this.

Last season, Wells was producing in a large way with a batting line of .326 BA/.379 OBP/.606 SLG with a .322 GPA and an isolated power of .280. As is the case with many players, Wells seems to have lost his hitting prowess and power right after signing an extremely lucrative contract and is only putting up a line of .259 BA/.318 OBP/.420 SLG with a .248 GPA and an isolated power of .160 this year, a far cry from his 2006 numbers. In fact, those numbers are more in line with his 2004 and 2005 league average seasons than his 2003 and 2006 superstar numbers.

No one will ever be able to overrate consistency and the ability to sustain excellence in a player and for those who underrate these attributes, they will most likely end up saddled with a player like Vernon Wells who may give you a great season every now and then, but will not be able to do so to help the team out year in and year out.



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