Casper Wells was one of the pieces acquired in the Doug Fister trade. Since then, he has gained love from a lot of the fans, but has been pretty inconsistent at the plate and will already turn 28 years old in the off-season. Some people are visual learners, so most of this post will be in pictures, as we try to figure out what Wells’ problems at the plate have been.
Here is the heat map based on run values for his career (all of the heat maps are compared to league average):
The first thing you notice is that up and away he is terrible. Down and in is where he has had the most success. Even against lefties he has not been good on pitches up and in. They have also been able to pitch him inside and down out of the zone.
Against right-handers, he has a lot of flaws, especially up:
Wells has had some serious issues with the curveball (both righties and lefties), even in the strikezone:
However, as long as they don’t get the slider in on him, he is pretty good against it:
The fastball is Wells’ favorite pitch to hit, as one would expect:
In many ways, Wells seems to be a “mistake hitter”, taking advantage of fastballs and sliders that don’t get inside (which could explain his dominance in the minors). One thing you notice is that he has only put 447 balls in play in his career. This speaks both to the still rather small sample size we have of him in the Majors, and the amount of times he strikes out. He is walking 7.2% of the time in his career and striking out a whopping 26.5% (this year has been no different, 7.3% versus 26.6%)
The spray chart shows that all of Wells power and the vast majority of his hits are pulled:
Perhaps because he is such a pull hitter, he doesn’t get pitched inside much and has hit for no power on pitches up and in:
Instead, he is pitched a lot low and away. Here is Wells swing-rate against lefties on curves/sliders/changeups/splitters:
As you can see, he swings a lot at pitches that are low and away, even when he has the platoon advantage. For a hitter with pull power, this is not good news. As the spray chart shows, he is not doing a good job of hitting the ball the other way for base hits. His K/BB also shows that this plan simply isn’t working. Casper Wells has some serious plate discipline issues, and even with defensive value and power, it is hard to envision him as a quality starting outfielder until this changes (whether or not it can change or not is a separate philosophical/scouting question).