Calling today’s Bad Spring Training Roster Decision of the Day a bad idea is an insult to bad ideas. It is so bad we nearly had to create a new daily feature called the Catastrophically Stupid Spring Training Roster Decision of the Day.
Today’s nominee comes from the LA Angels, who have already brought us whoppers of decisions like guaranteeing disgruntled, aging designated hitter Bobby Abreu 400 plate appearances. But that decision looks like a stroke of genius compared to the proclamation that Mike Scioscia made about the lineup configuration he is considering. That would be a lineup in which Vernon Wells bats second in front of Albert Pujols.
Yes, that Vernon Wells. The same Vernon Wells that just came off a nightmare season in which he posted a .248 OBP, one of the lowest of all-time from a MLB regular. The same Vernon Wells that “boasts” a career OBP of .323.
The tragically flawed logic behind this potential batting order is that Scioscia believes Wells would benefit from hitting in front of Albert Pujols. Technically, that is probably true since anybody would benefit from hitting in front of the greatest hitter of a generation. But lineup protection does not an All-Star make.
Vernon Wells was one of the worst players in all of baseball last season and it wasn’t just because he wasn’t seeing enough fastballs. As he even admits himself, he was trying too hard to impress his new club and was swinging at more pitches than he normally would, which is a quite a bit. Mix in his unimpressive career walk rate and you have yourself just about the worst possible player on the Angel roster that could be batting in front of Pujols.
Oh, almost forgot. Scioscia is also considering batting Erick Aybar leadoff. Yes, the same Aybar that has a career OBP of .319. The same- We’ve already done this. You get the point. Two guys with poor OBPs setting the table for the premier slugger in baseball seems like a pretty lousy way to maximize the return on a $246 million investment.
For the Angels’ sake, let’s hope that this idea never sees the light of the regular season, but if Mike Scioscia’s track record of showing far too much faith in his veteran players is any indication, it very well might.