February 20, 2012

The feel good story of the year is going to be...

I have wanted to get something off my chest for a while now and that “something” is that I feel good about the kind of season Vernon Wells is going to have this year. Yeah, I said it and I’m feeling good about it too. I know; some of you; heck, a lot of you have your doubts. I have eyes and ears and I’ve read and heard what you’ve had to say.

Angel fans, writers, bloggers, “experts” and the like have had a field day with Vernon Wells since last season. I know a lot of it was justified. Wells did not have the kind of season any of us- including Wells himself, wanted. Some of you even predicted as much and you’re at it again.

If you’re a die-hard Angels fan and you follow the off season news like a tiger tracks its prey, then you’ve read or heard about all the effort Wells has put into the off season. You know that renowned hitting coach Rudy Jaramiillo worked with him all off season. You’ve no doubt heard about Wells’ work-out routine and all the effort he’s putting into making 2011 a distant memory.

And yet… some of you still don’t believe or even worse – don’t want to believe. You'd rather cling to your projections or what the experts are saying.

Well, count me among the believers.

So while some of you are buried away in your rooms working on player projections, I have to ask you – how do you factor in a new swing and approach at the plate in your projections? Can you even do that? Let’s just say that I have my doubts and I’m betting there are things you just can’t project despite your best efforts.

Right or wrong – I’m saying – it’s okay to give Wells a fresh start. He was pretty horrible last year and the most telling stat line for me what the fact that he only hit 15 doubles. He can’t possibly be any worse and I’m willing to bet he’ll be more than solid in 2012.

How can I say that? I have a gut feeling about this and I know that some of you hate “gut feelings.” If you can’t quantify it, you don’t want to think about it, right? Well, life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will or even the way it’s supposed to. I’m counting on that human element in Wells - his desire to be better. He’s clearly on a mission and quite frankly, I want to go along for the ride.

So here’s the bottom line. Vernon Wells has been mocked, ridiculed and put down by everyone from ESPN’s Keith Law to Tim Dierkes of mlbtraderumors.com. He’s an under-dog and I love a good old fashioned under-dog – especially when he works his tail off to get better.

Well is known for his phrase “too blessed to be stressed” and some of you have even taken to mocking that. Shame on you.

I am going on record right now and put myself in Vernon’s corner. When he first signed, I told you I was “all in.” It felt good then and it feels good now. That’s right. There’s no telling how 2012 is going to play out, but this fan wants Wells to succeed in a big way. This is who I am and this is what I do.

Deep down inside, you want to be on Wells’ wagon too, don’t you? You see the same guy I do - a guy who stays positive no matter what; a guy who is putting in the maximum amount of effort to make us all forget 2011.

Albert Pujols is going to grab a lot of headlines this spring and I’m sure he’ll do the same throughout the season. There are a lot of interesting story lines to follow – everything from Kendrys Morales comeback to whether or not Mike Trout will have a chance to make an impact. It’s all interesting and worth noting, but I’m focused on “the feel-good story of the year” – and that’s going to be Vernon Wells.

It’s spring baby. Optimism reigns supreme and I’m giving a huge dosage of my own kind of rose-colored optimism directly to Vernon Wells.

Who’s with me? This is going to be fun.


  1. Players on the wrong side of 30 who collapse don't magically reappear. I will be pleased to be proven wrong, but I expect a detailed analysis of Wells' at-bats will not be very kind. That said, virtually all of the player projection systems seem to indicate a comeback in 2012 (at least, those at Fangraphs), so it is not beyond the pale to think he may return.

  2. Could not be any worse. I'm with you. I'm all in for a Big V comeback

  3. Wells was terrible last season. But as much as some folks said they predicted it, last season's performance sure looked like an awful aberration to me. It sounds like he has the right attitude and work ethic about the coming season. It seems logical that he can get back to a more normal performance for him, and that is something that we should all look forward to, especially Wells himself.

  4. We almost signed Carl Crawford last year... who was a bigger bust?