Vernon Wells: Wikis

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Vernon Wells

Toronto Blue Jays — No. 10
Center Field
Born: December 8, 1978 (1978-12-08) (age 31)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
August 30, 1999 for the Toronto Blue Jays
Career statistics
(through 2009)
Batting average     .280
Home runs     192
Runs batted in     725
Stolen bases     84
Hits     1368
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Vernon Wells III (born December 8, 1978) is a Major League Baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays. Wells has appeared on two All-Star teams in his career, been awarded three Gold Glove Awards, and one Silver Slugger Award.[1] He is among the league's highest paid players, having in 2007 signed a $126 million contract extension that ends in 2014.[2]

Contents

Early years

Vernon Wells was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up in Arlington, Texas, where his family moved in 1988. During a Little League practice he was smacked in the face with a ground ball, a misfortune that did not keep him from becoming a stellar center fielder (he won consecutive Gold Glove awards in 2004, 2005, and 2006). In 1993, Wells entered Arlington's Bowie High School where he played quarterback on the football team and was an outfielder on the baseball team. In his senior year, he batted .565 with 7 home runs and 20 RBI. Before entering the Major League Baseball Draft, Wells considered going to the University of Texas at Austin to play baseball and football (as a wide receiver).

Early career

The Toronto Blue Jays made Wells round one's fifth pick in the 1997 amateur draft. He spent several years as a top prospect in the Blue Jays organization, starting with the St. Catharines Blue Jays, Toronto’s Class-A team in the short-season New York – Penn League. In 1999 he played in the Australian Baseball League with the Sydney Storm.[3] From 1999 through 2001, Wells was a regular September call-up and played in 57 games.

Major League career

Wells at bat.
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2002

In 2002, Wells was given his first chance to be an every-day player. Although disqualified from Rookie of the Year contention because he had exceeded the 130 career major league at-bat limit to qualify as a rookie (the award went to teammate Eric Hinske), Wells proved himself to be one of the top rising stars in the game. He batted .275 with 23 home runs, 100 RBI and 87 runs while asserting himself as one of the most fluid center fielders in the game. Some Toronto commentators described it as the quietest 100 RBI season a Blue Jay player ever had.

2003-2005

In 2003, Wells' finished the season with a .317 batting average, 33 home runs, 117 RBI and 118 runs. He led the league with 215 hits, 49 doubles, and 373 total bases and finished 8th in American League MVP voting. He also participated in his first All-Star game. He won the AL co-player of the week for the first time on June 23, 2003, sharing the honor with [4] Corey Koskie, who would become Wells' teammate in 2005. Wells won his first Gold Glove Award in 2004, and a second in 2005.

2006

Wells has often been considered a very slow starter to the MLB season, often batting near the "Mendoza Line" (a .200 batting average). However, he began the 2006 season on a torrid pace, and continued to hit well throughout the year, ending the season with a .303 batting average, 32 home runs, and 106 runs batted in. Wells' year was capped by a game against the Boston Red Sox in which he hit 3 home runs, with two coming off of Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. He won the AL player of the week honour on July 24 [5] for the second time in his career.

Wells' was selected as a reserve outfielder on the American League All-Star Team and was promoted to the League's starting lineup after an injury to Boston's Manny Ramírez. It was his second appearance in the mid-summer classic (his first coming in 2003).

During the season, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi criticized Wells, as well as teammates Troy Glaus and Shea Hillenbrand, for failure to perform during key situations after two losses to the Kansas City Royals just before the 2006 All-Star break. He followed such criticisms with great play throughout the rest of the year, including a walk-off home run against New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. On September 24, he recorded his 500th RBI in a game against the Boston Red Sox.

At the end of the 2006 season, Vernon Wells was awarded his 3rd straight Gold Glove Award for his outfield defense, along with Torii Hunter, and Ichiro Suzuki. He also signed a back-loaded contract for $126 million over seven years, a deal that in 2009 sports columnist Joe Posnanski said qualified the Blue Jay's general manager for the "Bad Contract Hall of Fame."[6]

2007

In 2007. Wells had the lowest range factor of all major league center fielders, 2.29. Speculations as to the reason for his slump included:

  • lack of protection in the lineup due to other slumping sluggers,
  • a shoulder injury that he suffered early in the season,
  • lack of preparation for the season, or
  • the pressure of his new contract.

2008

On May 8, Wells suffered a broken left wrist while making a diving catch. He returned on June 7, but later strained his left hamstring on July 9 and missed over a month of the season. He finished the year hitting .300 with 20 home runs and 78 RBIs.

2009

During spring training in 2009, Wells suffered another injury, a strained left hamstring which kept him out for several weeks. At the beginning of the season Wells batted fourth in the lineup and was playing everyday center field. He struggled with consistency at the plate, and was subsequently dropped from the 4th spot in the lineup before the all-star break.

Off the field activities

See also

References

  1. ^ "Dirty dozen for Pudge; sixth for Chavez, Hunter, Ichiro". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2646282.  
  2. ^ What $100 million buys from a March 2007 USA Today article
  3. ^ Flintoff and Dunn Alamanac
  4. ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Wells named AL Co-Player of Week
  5. ^ The Official Site of The Toronto Blue Jays: News: Wells takes home AL weekly honors
  6. ^ "Alex Rios is latest blunder by Toronto Blue Jays' J.P. Ricciardi". August 13, 2009. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/joe_posnanski/08/12/worst.contracts/1.html. Retrieved 2009-08-13. "This deal, to be honest, is not the sort of thing that leads to a general manager getting fired. It's the sort of thing that leads to entire villages getting pillaged. And that's what I mean about Ricciardi. I mean, this contract alone should be enough to put him in the Bad Contract Hall of Fame."  
  7. ^ Major League Baseball Players Association: Press Releases

External links


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