Vernon Wells: Amid Struggles, Angels Outfielder Reaches Important Milestone
Vernon Wells’ tenure with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has not been a great one. His on-base percentage is abysmal, his batting average is even worse and his slugging percentage hasn’t reached .500 since 2010.
After hitting 25 home runs in 2011, the 33-year-old was sitting on 248 for his career entering the 2012 season. He hit number 249 against the Kansas City Royals’ Kelvin Herrera on April 8.
His next came less than a week later.
Facing Yankees rookie relief pitcher David Phelps in the fifth inning of that April 14 match, Wells rocketed the second pitch he saw into the left-field stands for a solo long ball. The dinger, his second of the year, put the Angels ahead 6-0 in a game they would end up winning, 7-1.
Though 250 home runs is not a particularly rare mark—35 active players have hit at least that many—it is still an impressive total for a player in a multi-season struggle to re-find his groove.
Wells came to the Angels prior to start of the 2011 season after hitting .273 with 31 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010. He hit only .218 for the Angels last year and, despite still showing notable home run power, slugged only .412.
The 2012 season has been a slight improvement, though the numbers still are not pretty—in 10 games, he is hitting only .237 with an on-base percentage of .256. With those numbers, he is not quite living up to his $21 million-per-year contract.
Nevertheless, 250 home runs in a career is the hallmark of solid power bat—even if that bat doesn’t produce much more than home runs.
Fun fact: Currently, the next closest active player to 250 home runs is Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who stands at 243.
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