Monday, July 25, 2011

Inside the Numbers – Angels Sabermetric Leaders
By Andre Castillo - Columnist

This past off-season, the Angels were pilloried for their acquisition of Vernon Wells. From 2011-14, Wells was owed $81 million salary (including $5 million kicked in by Toronto), for about $20 million per year. To make matters worse in the eyes of many critics, the Angels passed on Carl Crawford to get him.  Crawford as we know signed with the Red Sox for 7 years, $124 million, or just under $18 million/year.

Wells is certainly cheaper in terms of total salary, the thinking went, but you’re getting him at age 32, the beginning of his decline years. Crawford was just 29, and likely to age better – so he would be worth the extra money.

Let’s see for ourselves how they’ve panned out so far in 2011 and see if we can get an early sense of who was the better pick-up (stats as of 1:30 p.m. Monday).

You may be surprised.

First, batting average:

Player Comparison
Batting Average
Carl Crawford
Vernon Wells

Crawford has the decisive edge, but both players have fallen off a cliff in terms of batting average. Wells is far down from his career .284, as is Crawford, who is a lifetime .294 hitter.

But who cares about average! What about their walks and on-base percentage?

Player Comparison
Carl Crawford
Vernon Wells

Despite another putrid showing by Crawford, Wells still falls short and is now 0-2. But that’s not really fair to Wells, who has jacked 16 bombs while Crawford has hit only 6. So let’s look at their slugging percentage:

Player Comparison
Carl Crawford
Vernon Wells

So while Wells bests Crawford here, it’s not as much as you’d expect.

But what happens when we roll them all together into Fangraphs’ weighted on-base percentage, wOBA? Keep in mind that wOBA average, OBP, and SLG, as well as stolen bases and caught-stealing in its calculation (10/5 for Crawford, 4/2 for Wells).

Player Comparison
Carl Crawford
Vernon Wells

First of all, you get two awful results for such premium salaries. Wells ranks just behind Corey Patterson of the Blue Jays. Crawford, meanwhile, is on-par with the hitting of the Marlins’ John Buck.

But also, it shows that Crawford, as bad as he has been, has been better than Wells.

Or has he? What about fielding and base-running? Those things matter too, right?

Player Comparison
Carl Crawford
Vernon Wells

Now this is a surprise. There’s certainly room for debate as to whether these fielding and base running numbers (based on Fangraphs’ Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Ultimate Base Running (UBR)) are accurate in such small samples, but it’s still interesting nonetheless.

It looks like, at least on the surface, Crawford’s defensive value has not translated to the short left field of Fenway Park. (I’ve heard of other examples the Rays’ home field artificially boosting the UZR of their outfielders, whether through smart managing or some other park effect as well, but I’m not aware of any systematic study at this point).

It also appears that Wells is at least a competent defensive left fielder, as opposed to a dreadful center fielder. He also somehows outperformed Crawford’s legendary base-running this year.

Now when you add it all together – hitting, fielding, and base-running – what does this look like in terms of WAR?

Player Comparison
Carl Crawford
Vernon Wells


I was.
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels! Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to become the ownership of for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.