Tuesday, August 13, 2013

No Home Cooking For Vern

Since troublesome H/R splits are a topic of conversation this week, let's take a look at one that could actually have an impact on the 2014 season.  I don't know how I missed it, but I didn't realize until Sunday's TBS broadcast that Vernon Wells was hitting so horribly at home this season.  Entering tonight's game, Wells has a .190/.238/.291 batting line at Yankee Stadium, good for a .233 wOBA and a 37 wRC+.  By comparison, his OPS is .748 on the road (.328 wOBA, 106 wRC+) in a little north of 30 more plate appearances.  What the hell is that?

Wells underperforming offensively is hardly front page news anymore.  The guy has been worth negative offensive value in his 0.0-WAR season to date, and thinking about how he STILL hasn't hit a home run since May 15th makes my brain hurt.  But to post numbers like that at The Stadium?  Sure it doesn't cater to right-handed power nearly as much as it does left-handed power, that we know.  It's still a very hitter-friendly stadium no matter what side of the plate you're on.  If there's somewhere where Wells' noodle bat should produce a little more power it's YS3.

Notice that I used the word "could" have an impact on the 2014 season and not "would."  The Yankees have Wells under contract next season, as part of the growing collection of old guys who will combine to patch up the outfield corners around Brett Gardner.  Through some fancy accounting work at the time of the trade, however, the Yankees will not be on the hook for any of Wells' salary next season, making it much easier to cut bait on him if his production continues to wallow below the line of respectability.  There's nothing Wells has done since mid-May that warrants a guaranteed roster spot next year.  If a low-.500s OPS is all he can muster in 81 home games again, he shouldn't even make it to mid-May next year.

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