Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Few Good Men: 33 - Werth

Jayson Werth - Age 32 - Due $110 Million through 2017

How he became a Nat: Signed a 7 year - $126 Million deal in December of 2010.

The Raw Numbers:
HR - 20
RBI - 58
SB - 19
K - 160 (Career High)
AVG - .232 (Worst in a full season)
UZR - 1.4
WAR - 2.5

Key Stat: .323. This is Werth's wOBA for the past year. This stat is his Weighted On Base Average, it uses a complicated formula that is a much more accurate tool than a players OPS. It is due in part to the fact that Werth left the comforts of Citizen's Bank Ballpark and partly due to the fact that Zimmerman was gone from the lineup for most of the year. Also noting that this was Werth's worst year in a while.

Best Game: May 20th vs the Orioles. Werth exploded in a 17-5 Nats rout of our neighbors to the north. He went 3 for 5 with 2 home runs and 4 runs batted in. It was this point that most in NatsTown believed that Werth was finally going to break out of his (at that point) season-long slump [Ed. Note - it wasn't].

Worst Game: This is toughie - so I'm going to go with his worst performance at the plate (this was especially tough because he had 3 Golden Sombrero's on the year). I would have to say that the worst was on May 12th vs Atlanta. Werth struck out 4 times in 5 ABs in a 6-5 loss to the Braves in extra innings - three of those strikeouts were looking.

CapBall Grade: C-. Werth had a terrible season - especially when you consider his salary. One thing that Werth did do is provide a hard-nosed attitude and some solid defense (Werth was the 11th best defensive OF in the NL according to UZR). One of the reasons why I didn't give him a lower grade is that his 2nd half (.255/.345/.426) was pretty close to his career averages (.264/.360/.464) - much better than his first half. [Ed. Note - difference in slugging is due to his not being in Citizen's Bank].

2012 Nats Status: With $110+ Million still on the books it's pretty safe to assume that we will be seeing Werth in RF come Opening Day in Chicago. The only thing that could be any different is if the Nats fail to get a Center Fielder and Werth has to man CF or if Bryce Harper kills everyone in Spring Training and comes north with the Big Club to play RF - both scenarios very unlikely.

We know that Werth had a terrible season - the question is if he can rebound next year. Answer in the comments!


  1. I am hoping that this was just an adjustment year - new park, no protection in the line-up, pressure to lead, etc. He did bring some nice intangibles to the table -and - he wasn't Adam Dunn kind of bad. Hopeful but concerned...

  2. I think he will. RobBobS over at Federal Baseball listed Werth's OPS+ numbers over the past five years: 120, 121, 129, 144, 97. Like RobBob, I think that 97 is a blip. I'm expecting a 110-120 OPS+ next year -- not as good as he was in Philly, but still much better than this year.

  3. To continue that thought, I'd give him a C, and I expect him, next season, to have a slash line for the season roughly the same as the one he had for the second half of 2011.

  4. If we all know that Werth had a terrible season, then why does he get a C-? Look, I don't hate the guy. He has some positive qualities and actually won at least two games this year with his baserunning and hustle. I truly hope he plays better, a lot better, next year, and he certainly has the potential to be a star again. But let's be honest, he was really awful this year. All the people, including Riggleman, DJ, Carp, FP, Ray Knight, and especially Rizzo) who told us not to worry, that Werth would pick it up and be worth his big salary, were just plain wrong.

    One thing to note is that his much ballyhooed improved second half stats were actually worse, not by much, but still worse, than his career norms. All the hard nosed attitude and defense and "clubhouse presence" in the world does not make up for a terrible season at the plate. We can find a good fielding .232/.330/.389 outfielder for alot less than $18 million per year. (Coco Crisp's slashline last year was 264/.314/.379 for example.) That's not what the the Nats paid for when they signed him, and it's simply not good enough for next year and beyond.

    I think Werth's lack of power was most troubling. If he's going to bat 5th in the lineup, he needs to slug a lot better than .389. He hit 20 fewer doubles (and 7 fewer HR) in 2011 than in 2010. He needed to do a lot better to warrant a C or even a C-.