It’s May 18th and the Yankees are sitting atop the AL East which comes as a surprise to many for a plethora of reasons. No one thought the Yankees could continue their dominance for going on two decades, even if the Yankees were healthy. Right now, on the Yankee’s disabled list, sits names like Jeter, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Youkilis, Chamberlin and now Pettitte.
So how are the Yankees still winning? One of the main reasons is the revival of outfielder Vernon Wells.
Wells has had a very good career just by looking at his overall numbers. He has 269 home runs, 931 RBI and is a .273 career hitter. But, since 2010, his offensive numbers have been on the decline. So what is Wells doing differently this year compared to years past? He’s having a little bit better luck then he has had in the previous seasons. Just look at his BABIP. For those who don’t know, BABIP is Batting Average for Ball In Play. Essentially, it is Wells’ batting average of just the balls he hits in fair territory.
Wells has a current BABIP of .287, which is the highest it’s been since 2008. Compare this to last year when Wells had a BABIP of just .226 or, in 2011, when it was at a career low of .214.
This indicates that Wells is the same player he has been the past couple years but is having more luck when it comes to the balls he puts in play.
There are other reasons also why Wells is seeing more success at the dish. His walk rate is currently the highest it’s ever been during his 15 year career. That brings his Strikeout to walk ratio down to a career low of 1.57 strikeouts per walk compared to back in 2011 when Wells struck out 4.3 times per walk.
So between seeing the ball a little better and having a little bit better luck, Vernon Wells is having one of his best seasons since he hit .273 and 31 homers in 2010. Wells production could not have come at a better time for the injury decimated first place Yankees.