Whatever deal Vernon Wells struck with the devil to revive his career upon his arrival in New York this season looks like it had a pretty early expiration date.
One of the most surprising developments of the early 2013 was that Wells, fresh off of being banished from Anaheim, landed in the Bronx and suddenly began playing like he was back in his prime. With a .300/.366/.544 slash line the first month of the season, Wells was one of the major reasons that the Yankees were able to not only survive the rash of injuries that struck their lineup but thrive. Vernon's strong performance even had them looking quite smart to trade for him even though the deal was roundly mocked at the time seeing how Wells was only a year removed for having one of the worst seasons of all-time for a full-time starting outfielder.
Well, it looks like the joke might still be on the Yankees after all. Since that stellar first month, Wells has seen his numbers fall off a cliff. A very high and jagged cliff. Since the calendar turned to May, Wells has posted a slash line of .228/.260//380. That is conspicuously similar to the line he posted in his two miserable years with the Halos which was .222/.258/.409.
That's the thing about regression, when it hits you, it hits you like a ton of bricks. What it also means is that Vernon Wells isn't can't hit anymore. This could be case of Wells just hitting a cold streak, but all the telltale signs suggest that this is his true talent level. Much like his time in Anaheim, Wells has reverted back to seldom drawing a walk, with just a 4.2% walk rate in May. He also can't necessarily claim that this is a fluke by virtue of a low BABIP either. Right now, his BABIP during this slump is .233, but that is actually better than the .214 and .226 BABIPs that Wells posted in his two previous seasons.
Maybe the Yankees will get lucky and Wells will settle in somewhere in between his April and May performance, but those two awful years with the Angels strongly suggest that isn't going to happen. What New York should really be hoping for is that Curtis Granderson heals up quickly so that they can simply remove Wells from the lineup altogether or at least move him into a very depressing platoon with Ichiro.