Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dispelling A Myth

Myth: Jayson Werth had a terrible 2011 Season.

Fact: Jayson Werth had a terrible 1st half of the 2011 Season.

I can't tell you how many times I have seen that Jayson Werth had a terrible 2011 season. Was it what fan's expected? No. But does that automatically mean that it was terrible? No. It doesn't. Not at all.

Before we get into me proving myself right, let's look at Werth's history.

From 2002-2009, Werth moved from Toronto to Los Angeles, finally settling in the City of Brotherly Love in 2007. Up until that point he was plagued with injury problems and he was mostly a 4th or 5th outfielder, not able to lock down a starting job. It wasn't until 2008 when he got that spot in the Phillies 2008 juggernaut of a lineup featuring healthier and younger versions of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, as well as perennial MVP candidate, Jimmy Rollins. Once he was able to settle in to that lineup, things went very well for him.

This is his slashline from 2002-2009: .265/.360/.467

Fast forward to 2010. The Phillies won a whopping 97 games and Jayson Werth had a career year (in his contract year, no less - shocking). Werth posted career highs in Runs, Hits, Doubles (almost doubling his previous high), Average, and Slugging - definitely an anomaly year.

So, was it naive for Nats fans to think that this was the Werth that was coming to DC?


I'm guilty of it, just as I'm sure many of you are guilty of it.

But let's get back to this past year. Yes, his first half of the season was pathetic as he posted a .215 Average and a .681 OPS, but a bad first half does not a bad season make.

Post All-Star break, Jayson Werth began to resemble to resemble the player that he was from 2002-2009 with this 2nd half slashline: .255/.345/.426.

Are these numbers lower than his career average? Yes, but not enough to throw a hissy fit over.
- The lower average can be explained by going from feasting on Nationals pitchers to having to face the Phillies Four-Horsemen.
- The lower OBP can be explained by going from hitting behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to hitting behind Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond.
- The lower Slugging % can be explained by going from Citizen's Bank Smallpark to more neutral Nationals Park.

This is the new reality for Jayson Werth. In my (expert) opinion, Jayson Werth is going to have a better year than last year, but it won't come close to touching the .296/.388/.532 of 2010.

But for now, can we please resist the urge to label all of Werth's 2011 a disaster? Thanks.


  1. Werh's season a disaster? Not hardly. Adam LaRoche's season? Now THAT was a disaster.

    You also need to throw in Werth's solid defense and the veteran presence he brought to team full of young/inexperienced players. Werth's WAR was actually 2.1. Disappointingly low , yes, given his paycheck. But not a disaster.

  2. Funny how we all failed to account for the change in parks, the change in line-up protection, the change in pitchers needing to be faced - before the season started. That contract really got our expectations flying high. His hitting was terrible the first half, he still struck out too much the second half -- the rest of his play shows him to be a smart baseball guy. If he can improve his offense and be consistent through the year and still show the other parts of his game, it'll be cool.I would actually like to see him steal more bases - he is quite stealthy. At least he is not Adam Dunn-like.

  3. Amen! Bdrube and CB are right indeed.

    Before Werth, the Nats had been jerked around by Texiera and others seeking a mega-contract from the rich successful franchises. Nats fans screamed that the Lerners were cheap after they (smartly) allowed the Sox to grab Dunn. This stopped after the Werth signing.

    Werth's team mates (except for Nyjer) have uniformly praised Werth's club house leadership in setting a winning tone for the team. If Werth rises to his mean from being surrounded by better (healthy) batters, his acquisition will be viewed much more favorably.

  4. See, Bdrube and CB - that's why I have readers like you.