By Mike Moritz
Edited By Jack E. Cody
Jayson Werth signed the lucrative contract that would keep him in a Washington Nationals uniform for seven seasons for $126 million on December 5, 2010, I was a little surprised to say the least. I really think that Washington overpaid by a lot. But then again, this is the kind of money that the Nationals need to cough up in order to sign a big name player.
I just wish it was not Jayson Werth.
Don't get me wrong, I like Werth. He is a power hitter who gets on base, sees a lot of pitches, and has superb plate discipline. In a single full season, Werth has never hit less than 24 homers, has never had an OBP of less than .363, never seen less than 4.37 P/PA, and has never posted a wOBA that has never been lower than .384. To add to that, his career O-Swing% is just 20.5%, compared to the general 25% average.
Before making my ultimate point, it must be known that Werth was unlucky with his power numbers but, on the other hand, got lucky with his batting average.
His career line drive rate is 21.4% and his career ground ball rate is 37.4%. 2010 was a weird year for him as his line drive rate dropped to a career low 17.5% but his ground ball rate hovered around his career line of 37%. On the other hand, his BABIP was a whopping .352 leading to a great .296 average.
In terms of his home runs, his fly ball rate was ABOVE his career mark at 45.4% (his career average is 41.2%). However, his HR/FB ratio was 14.3%, which was the lowest of each of his full seasons (in 2008, it was 21.1% and in 2009, it was 19.3%). The outcome was still an above average 27 homers, with the extra hits being translated into doubles, resulting in Werth raking in a league leading 46 two-baggers.
Statcorner.com helps us understand how baseball stadiums effect players' hits. It scales LD, GB, FB, IFH (in field hits), K, BB, wOBA, singles, doubles, triples and home runs on a scale of 100 for left handed hitters and righties. Anything that is below 100 has a negative effect on that specific statistic and everything that is above 100 has a positive effect.
Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Werth's former team, has a rating of 120 which means that the park has a significant positive effect on long balls, helping Werth out. Singles and doubles, on the other hand, were rated at 97 and 99, respectively. GB were rated at 101, LD at 103 and FB were 96. In another note, the wOBA in Citizen Bank Park is .331.
The home run rating is a neutral 100 while singles and doubles were rated at 98 and 95, again, respectively. GBs are 101, LD at 106 and FB are 96. The wOBA for the park is .318.
His career batting average .272. Lets consider last years .296 batting average "lucky", as proven earlier in this post. So let's exclude 2010 and his career batting average becomes .265. I am going to see him as a .275 hitter. Since National Park's singles and doubles are below the 100 average, it would seem decent to think that his singles and doubles (and overall total hits) would go down after the transfer to the nation's capital.
Werth's home run totals should take a hit for sure.
As you read before, National Park's fly balls are 96 and home runs are 100. Citizens Bank Park is also 96 but, again, home runs are 120.
In a 162 game average from year to year, Werth has averaged 25 home runs. But it seems that he is more of 26 to 29 home run guy, despite his 36 homers in 2009.
But since Werth got un-lucky with his homers in 2010, it would seem more likely that he is capable of hitting 30+ homers in a year consistently since his fly rate has been on the rise since 2007. So with that said, he seems to be about a 30-34 home run threat...in Philly.
In D.C., it looks like he is a 25-28 home run guy and a .275 hitter with about 30 doubles.
I can't tell what he will do in perhaps year 3, 4, 5, or beyond in this enormous contract, but my projection for at least this year is as follows:
.275/.385/.495/.380, 25-30 home runs and 25+ doubles.
His 95 batting average-OBP point differential for his career should bode well for when he gets older.
(Statistics in courtesy of: baseball-reference.com, espn.com, fangraphs.com and statcorner.com)