Vernon Wells: back to reality

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Part of the reason the Yankees were so good in April and much of May was because they were getting great performances from unexpected players. Like Vernon Wells, who was smacking the ball around to the tune of .300/.366/.544 in the season’s first month but came crashing back to Earth to hit .221/.250/.365 in May.  Last night he went 0-for-4 in a horrendous loss to the Sox and that season-long OBP is now at an even .300.

Wells told the New York Post what it’s all about:

“I just have to ride it out,” Wells said, who went 0-for-4. “I know I can get back to where I was that first month or so, I just have to get back to it.”

If I’m the Yankees I want Wells to think that he can get back to where he was the first month. Indeed, I don’t want my players ever looking back over their career numbers to assess whether or not such things are likely or possible. I want them to do their job and feel like they’re capable of an All-Star performance every day out.

But we’re not Wells or the Yankees. And we all can look back and see that April was an anomaly. And that while he’s had some good seasons here or there, the new normal for Wells is a lot closer to what he’s hitting now than what he was hitting a month ago. Indeed, the best indicator of what a player is ever going to do is what he’s done a lot of recently.

It’s great for the Yankees that they got a great month out of the guy, but now it’s back to reality for Vernon Wells.

Video: Pete Alonso hits home run no. 50

Pete Alonso
Getty Images
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Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.

It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.