Vernon Wells: Homers in the Bank

The first week of the season is beautiful. Garret Jones is on pace for 243 HRs. Edgar Renteria leads the league in batting at .727. Placido Polanco is on pace for 486 RBIs. With extremely small samples abound, we get to see our fair share of ridiculous statistics. Chief among them just might be Vernon Wells’s current 2010 line: 8 PAs, 5/7, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, .714/.778/2.000.

Perhaps, the Wells that signed a 7 year, $126 million contract is back. Of course, we’d be best served by simply looking towards Wells’s projections when it comes to forecasting the rest of his 2010. Still, this hot start has happened – much like R.J. and Dave C. have each noted in the past. How will this seven PA explosion impact our projection of Wells’s final line?

For simplicity’s sake, let’s just stick with CHONE’s projection. CHONE projected Wells for the following line: 608 PAs, 149/562, 100 1B, 29 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 43 BB, .265/.321/.420 (.327 wOBA).
Now, scaling back to 601 PAs to account for the 7 Wells already has gives the following: 98.8 1B, 28.7 2B, 2.0 3B, 17.8 HR, 42.5 BB. Adding in his 7 banked PAs gives the following 608 PA line (with rounding): 153/562, 101 1B, 29 2B, 2 3B, 21 HR, 43 BB, .272/.322/.443 (.333 wOBA). That’s a pretty significant difference – 3-4 runs according to wRAA and 24 points of OPS.

For as much as we talk about small sample sizes, that’s a pretty significant effect on a final season line from only 7 plate appearances. There is a chance that he goes through an 0/9 stretch at some point which completely nullifies it, but we can’t assume that will happen. That’s the Gambler’s Fallacy, the entire basis of R.J. and Dave’s posts. At this point, we should simply assume that Wells will perform at his projection for the rest of the year (actually, slightly better, incorporating the information from his first 7 PAs, but not significantly better), and adjust the final outcome based on what’s happened.

Vernon Wells already has 3 homers in the bank this year. Even if the rest of year just goes as expected, it could look like a bit of a rebound for someone who looked down and out last season.

Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.

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2009 pojected HR% (HR/PA) for Raul Ibanez: 4.2% (26 total HRs)
2009 actual 1st half HR% for Raul Ibanez: 7.6% (22 total HRs)
2009 revised HR total for Raul Ibanez: 34.47
2009 actual HR total for Raul Ibanez: 34

Hey, it worked. Not sure that says anything, but still cool, I guess.


Used CHONE projection, by the way.