Jayson Werth and The Nationals

December 6, 2010

The talk of Natstown is, understandably so, the signing of Jayson Werth for 7 years and $126 million. The contract is certainly one to discuss, but before I get into that, I’d like to examine the player himself.  Not the player in relation to the contract, just the player. And there’s quite a bit of good to say about him, starting with his offense.

He is a righty that absolutely mashes lefties, and he’s got a combo of speed and power. He’s only been a full time player for three seasons, when the Phillies were convinced, by Werth himself or by necessity, to allow him play against lefties. Over his last 3 seasons, he’s hit .279/.376/.513. He strikes out a great deal, with just about 150 each of the last 2 years, but he also walked around 85 times in each of those seasons. His offensive  numbers are actually quite similar to Dunn’s, as shown in this fangraphs article. He doesn’t have as much power as Dunn, but he has higher AVG and OBP, and he is significantly better on the basepaths.

As for the offensive splits, they are significant. His career OPS against lefties is .944 but it’s only .807 against righties. But before you get worried, last season he hit .881 against lefties and .937 against righties. That reverse split is likely to go away, but he’s hit well enough the last few seasons against righties anyway that he is a full time player, and he’s been so strong against lefties.

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