Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Tale of Two Players

It's not the most interesting thing in the world, but lets take a look at some stats, shall we?  (Stats taken from 2011 and first 10 games of 2012)

Player A: .219 Average, 27 Home Runs, 70 RBI, 94 K's, Grounded into 9 Double Plays, Makes $21 Million Dollars Per Year.

Player B: .263 Average, 22 Home Runs, 85 RBI, 136 K's, Grounded into 24 Double Plays, Makes $18 Million Dollars Per Year.

Player A gets booed by the home town fans, gets ripped apart by local and national baseball blogs, and is said to have the worst contract in sports history.

Player B is beloved by the home town fans, fans of other teams, and just about everyone in the sports media.

Now, as many of you have figured out, Player A is Vernon Wells and Player B is Torii Hunter, and yes, while Hunter hits for a higher average and has more RBI's for 3 Million fewer dollars per year, he also strikes out a ton and grounds into more double plays (almost 3 times as many).  I get that a big part of this is that Torii Hunter is an extremely nice and funny guy, who often interacts with the media and fans, while Vernon Wells is more the quiet type, and is much more reserved around the few media outlets he speaks to.

At the same time, both are getting paid like they are top 10 outfielders, while neither is putting up the numbers.  Both have won Gold Gloves for their defense, and while maybe Wells has lost a step or two, Hunter continues to have great success after making the move from Center Field to Right Field.  I do think that over the last 172 games, Hunter has been the more valuable player, and is a super nice and personable guy who deserves all the praise he gets from the fans.... but, Vernon Wells doesn't strike out as much as we think he does, hardly ever grounds into double plays, and is far less of a liability out in Left Field than, say, Bobby Abreu.

Next time you think about booing Vernon Wells when he steps up to the plate (just a few minutes after you cheered for Hunter, who ended up striking out), maybe consider that if a few more balls found some grass (or the marine layer didn't knock down a few balls headed for the seats), that Vernon Wells would have numbers incredibly similar to Hunter, who we pay almost as much to do just as average of a job at the plate.


-Also, congrats to Jered Weaver for reaching 1000 career strikeouts last night against the Oakland A's.  That is no easy task, especially in the AL, where you don't get to face the opposing pitcher 2-3 times a game.

-Another congrats goes out to Kendrys Morales, who hit his first home run since the Walk-Off Grand Slam (and resulting celebration, which took him out of the game for nearly 2 years).  Got his first 4 RBI's of the season last night in a huge 6-0 win.

-Dan Haren looks to rebound tonight from a rough couple of outings against the same Oakland team.  He will face-off against Tyson Ross, a 24-year-old right-hander who has a career 4.18 ERA in 35 Games.

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