They said he couldn't be any worse than he was in 2011. They were wrong. This summer, the LA Angels and Mike Scioscia disdainfully present "Vernon Wells: Suck Harder!"
Yes, it is true. No, that fake movie teaser isn't real, but the part about Vernon Wells actually finding a way to be even worse than he was in his disastrous 2011 campaign is. Yes, his batting average is higher this season, but most everything else about his offensive production has gotten worse.
- His already pitiful walk rate of 3.8% in 2011 is down to 3.2% this season.
- His power has tailed off, as shown by his ISO dropping from .194 to .175.
- He has already grounded into five double plays after rolling into eight all of last year.
- This is where it gets real bad, he is swinging at career-high percentage of pitches out of the strike zone at 36.8%.
- Even worse, he is making contact with 79.0% of those out-of-zone pitches, which blows is blows his former career-best out of the water and is generally just an absurdly high percentage. That isn't a good thing.
The only things he has going for him is a higher average, better BABIP and an improved line drive rate, which surely all go hand-in-hand. I suppose that is reason for hope, but only if you are desperately seeking out such reasons, which I don't think anybody is. The reality is that while his batting average is up, his already miserable plate discipline has eroded further.
To me though, the most telling stat for Wells this season is his fWAR of -0.1. That's not a typo, he has a negative fWAR. He is worse than a replacement-level player, which means the Halos would be better off with a generic AAA scrub in Vernon's place.