Thursday, February 25, 2010
More on Wells
With lineup-based self-flagellation stepping in for rosterbation now that the roster is what it is, the calls for Vernon Wells to step forward as the new leadoff hitter are growing louder. While his free-swinging, rarely walking ways aren't exactly conducive to the role, who on this team would be better? Nobody.
In his latest at mailbag, Professor Griff fields questions from the S1Ws about all matters Blue Jay. Griffin suggests Wells might prosper at the top of the order because Wells "could be aggressive and see more good pitches early in counts." Despite this flying in the face of conventional "the leadoff guy sees a lot of pitches so everyone on the bench gets a good look at the starter" thinking, might be crazy enough to work?
Griffin slightly twisted logic came in response to a question about Vernon Wells's at bats and the script they apparently follow. Fastball down the middle, slider/curve away. 0-2 count or pop-up, take your pick. If only it was that simple.
431 fastballs out of 684 plate appearances. That's kind of a lot? 63% of the time, of which our boy Vernon took 141 for strikes. That's enough to create a bias all right. What about the ones he lashed at? Can Vernon make hay early in the count?
Vernon put the first pitch into play 94 times in 2009, reaching base 26 times (5 home runs!) BABIP of .274 in a teeny tiny sample size. Enough to go on? Does Vernon fair better early in the count rather than later?
Sort of. Vernon reached base 65 times when putting the first or second pitch he saw into play, 66 times when he put the bat on the third or fourth pitches he saw. Considering his pitches per plate appearance clocked in at 3.43, this is pretty interesting. Vernon doesn't need to work the count but is equally likely to reach if he goes up hacking versus waiting a little bit before letting fire.
In the end, not too much of this matters. If Vernon leads off or hits clean up, he's duty-bound to disappoint. The future of this team is patient fat dudes. The patient, powerful shortstop continues to elude AA and everyone in the front office. Hopefully Wells can fire on all cylinders once again.
Guess. And guess again.
Labels: Vernon Wells