Monday, October 3, 2011


'Tis not too unwieldy...I still have more range than Derek Jeter
and neither man nor beast can remove me from the double play...
Let's go back to our little sad tale of Wellsian woe. (No, not Wellesian woe:  that would be bigger, grander;  more like Jon Miller playing shortstop in chain mail and simultaneously doing play-by-play while imitating John Barrymore.)

We were talking about Vernon Wells, the fallen Angel of the woeful countenance. (Odd, isn't it, that Orson left his Don Quixote unfinished--perhaps waiting for Vernon's 2011 season of flailing at windmills.)

When we were looking at Vernon's "year of flailing dangerously" a short while back, he was closing in on two obscure-but-dubious records...

--Lowest on-base plus slugging (OPS) for any player with 20+ HRs in a season;
--Lowest on-base percentage (OBP) for any player with 20+ HRs in a season. did all that turn out?

50/50. Vernon managed to get his OPS back up just a tad, finishing at .660. A little flurry of long ball in the final weeks, like the final wheezing lunge of a lactose-intolerant puff adder, managed to do the trick and left Wells as only the third worst of all time. (Rest easy, Willie Kirkland!)

But all that creaky long-ballin' meant that Vernon showed even less plate discipline than was the case previously. Over the final 17 games of the season, encompassing 69 plate appearances, Wells managed to avoid drawing even one walk. So, while he slugged a respectable .522 over that span, his on-base percentage was only .217.

Mr. Fantastic...the ultimate defensive replacement...
So, when the dust of battle had cleared and they carried Vernon and the rest of the Angels out on their shields, his OBP for the 2011 season clocked in at a sluggish .248--enough to get him below Marquis Grissom, who'd previously held the record at .250.

And it should be noted that Vernon made a very costly mistake by hitting homer #25. That "benchmark number," the type that us slumming statisticians like to appropriate for the type of silliness that we so brazenly distend to shapes more precarious than those achieved by Mr. Fantastic, gets Vernon the double booby prize. For players with 25+ HRs, Wells has both the lowest OPS and the lowest OBP.

Maybe he should have gone up to the plate in chain mail.

But fear not, fans of Wellsian gravitas...Vernon has established an on-off pattern that makes Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde seem like identical twins. Over the past six seasons, Wells's OPS+ looks like this: 129, 85, 122, 86, 125, and 83 (this year). Just wait till next year!!

I can about you??