In 24 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.
Next up on our list is the $126 Million Dollar Man and bearded wonder, Jayson Werth.
Why?: Lets ignore the fact that we just paid the forbidden amount for the phormer Phillies heart and soul player; $126 Million, same as Zito and Wells. Werth has been an All-Star caliber player for the best team in the National League, posting a total of 15 WAR over the past 3 years. His offensive credentials certainly qualify Jayson for inclusion in the best of baseball, as he placed in the Top 10 for several major offensive categories in 2010 (OPS, OPS+, OBP, SLUG%, Runs, Runs Created, etc.)
Oh yea, and in his 8 years in the Majors he has compiled a 43.8 UZR combined, while playing all the outfield positions.
What should you expect?: There are a lot of variables that will contribute to Werth's performance in 2011 and beyond; lineup position, pitchers faced, etc. But in the short term I think we can expect all of the numbers to dip compared to the past few years.
- Won't get to feast off of Nationals pitching 18 times a year
- Will have to face the Four Aces up in Philadelphia probably 14 times next year
- Will he hit 3rd, 4th, or 5th?
Given the amount of money that the Lerner's shelled out for his services, many expect that Werth will hit in the 4 hole come Opening Day. But on March 1st, Riggleman said that the most likely scenario will be Werth hitting in the 3 hole, while giving Zimmerman the bulk of at bats in the clean up spot. This will mean that his Run totals will increase, but that his RBI totals will plateau or decrease due to fewer runners on for him.
In the field, I think that Werth will bounce back from a down year to post a terrific UZR while gunning out 10, or so, runners that aren't smart enough to hold when Werth has the ball.
Werth will earn his money this year.