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Casper Wells made the best of his second chance

Every weekday between now and mid-November, we'll be looking closer at a Tigers player. For more information on the series, including a schedule, please check this post out.

Like Scott Sizemore, Casper Wells is another player I included in the grading more for the process of looking at his season for future reference rather than for giving him a letter grade. After all, he played in just 36 of 162 games, and didn't even get to 100 plate appearances for the season. He did play quite well when he played, but he just wasn't around for much of the season.

The big reason I decided to include him is that Wells has a fair shot at breaking camp with the team in the outfield. With the Tigers targeting middle-of-the-order players in free agency, Wells will have little to no shot to make the team as a starter. But stranger things have happened, right? He fields well and he hits well and -- uh-oh I'm starting to feel like I'm writing about Matt Joyce -- I could see him starting. He would also make either a valuable player off the bench or the first player called up from the minor leagues if anyone stumbles or is injured.

Obviously the only grade I can give him is incomplete. But his short time with the team would have been a B+ or better, I'm sure.

At the plate:

2010 25 DET AL 36 99 93 14 30 6 1 4 17 0 1 6 19 .323 .364 .538 .901 142
1 Season 36 99 93 14 30 6 1 4 17 0 1 6 19 .323 .364 .538 .901 142
162 Game Avg. 162 446 419 63 135 27 5 18 77 0 5 27 86 .323 .364 .538 .901 142
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/31/2010.

Wells had a short audition with the team in May, and hit just 2-for-9 during that time. Detroit wasn't the only place he struggled either. Wells hit pretty poorly with Triple-A Toledo for most of the time he was there, too. It wasn't until he took a few days away from the game in July due to the death of his grandmother that things started falling into place for him.

He told the Times Union:

"It just made me realize there are things more important in life than me worrying about myself and baseball."

It took a bit longer after that, but then he relaxed and started seeing the ball well. He began getting the results you'd expect for a guy who hit pretty well during his minor league career. As you can see, when he returned to Detroit for the final two months or so of the season he hit for extra-base power, hit for average, found other ways to get on base. He was good. What else can you really say?

In the article the quote came from Johnny Damon thought Wells could be a starting right fielder in the MLB.

In the field:

Wells didn't really run up enough innings to have defensive stats tell you a story. I will note he had four outfield assists in 41 games (21 games started), so that's a nice one anyway. The 2010 Scouting Report by the fans had just one vote, so that won't do us much good anyway.

The eyes say he fields well enough to start in right field. So that's good enough for me.

What 2010 tells us about 2011:

I think only the very optimistic would expect an OPS of better than .900 from Wells. He had an OPS of .829 during his minor league career, and that includes a rather pedestrian 2010 season. He didn't have a fantastic average during his minor league career, but he made up for it with extra-base power.

If given a full season of plate appearances, I would expect to see a player who can hit double-figures for home runs but won't be up in the 30s or anything. He knows how to work his way on base by taking a walk, too.

Wells is a pretty good package for a player, and probably should be starting somewhere. I just don't think he'll be starting in Detroit.


I used Baseball-Reference, Fangraphs and The Baseball Cube. Also glanced at TangoTiger's scouting report.