FanPost

Big Vern and the Epic Comeback

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Now, honestly, I don’t expect Wells to win the Comeback Player of the Year because his last year wasn’t bad enough. However, it was pretty rough. I don’t think anyone expected him to reproduce his last year in Toronto because Anaheim is more of a pitcher’s park. However, this year’s production, .218/.241/.412 was below what everyone projected. I do cut him a little slack, though. This was his first year on a new team that lacked big bats and put VW in a position he shouldn’t have been in, trying to drive the ball out of the park on every swing. This usually ended in him rolling over an off-speed pitch (dribblers to 3B/SS) or getting too long in his swing (popping out to the right side).

But there is precedent for a VW comeback. Last year’s MVP candidate Curtis Granderson.

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Like VW, Granderson moved from one AL team to another. Granderson had high expectations and fell far below them. I’ll run a couple of comparisons to illustrate the similarities.

Well’s and Granderson’s average year before changing teams:

Player

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

WAR

Wells

(9 years)

640

24.5

84.5

88

9.33

.274

.323

.469

-

Grandy (5 years)

573

20.4

86

59.8

13

.267

.345

.493

-

The average numbers were taken beginning in the years that each player played a significant amount. Again, it appears that the players are reasonably similar. Also, Granderson’s BA/OBP/SLG are all pushed up by his last year (I didn’t feel like calculating out those numbers).

The year before the players changed teams:

Player

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

WAR

Wells (Tor ’10)

646

31

79

88

6

.273

.331

.515

3.8

Grandy

(Det ’09)

710

30

91

71

20

.249

.327

.453

2.9

It is arguable who had the better year before actually changing team. Of course, you factor in the contracts and it is no comparison. Wells is owed $63M over 3 years. Grandy is owed $30M over 5 (an extension he signed w/ the Tigers pre-trade).

Now, each players’ years in the first year after their respective trades:

Player

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

WAR

Wells (LAA ‘11)

529

25

60

66

9

.218

.248

.412

0.3

Grandy

(NYY ‘10)

528

24

76

67

12

.247

.324

.468

3.5

Granderson’s second year in NY and Wells’ projections for this upcoming season (from a few different sources):

Player

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

WAR

Grandy (5 years)

691

41

136

119

25

.262

.364

.468

7.0

Wells

(Bill James Proj. )

542

22

65

70

8

.260

.311

.452

-

Wells (Fangraph Fan Proj.)

518

21

56

62

6

.258

.302

.447

1.6

Wells

(cougwilly’s fearless Proj.)

593

28

69

83

7

.265

.330

.472

3.6

Of course, there are some key differences. Granderson moved into a hitter’s park, especially for lefties. Grandy hit in front of Texiera/Rodriguez, a combo that is clearly more formidable than Trumbo/Callaspo (when Wells was hitting 4). Also, Granderson is three years younger. However, Wells doesn’t play CF anymore, allowing him to conserve some energy.

Wells won’t play up to the level of his contract, but I predict he will be a valuable piece this year. I highly doubt that he will lose time to Trout (even though Trout needs to see the field – but that’s another post).

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This Fan-Post is authored by an independent fan. Tell us what you think and how you feel.

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