Is Werth an Everyday Player?

September 9, 2008 at 9:18 am Leave a comment

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(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Jayson Werth has been a backup and platoon player his entire career. At the tender age of 29 he is finally going to break the 350 at-bat mark in a season and as you have guessed his running stats of 22 homers, 59 runs, 59 RBI, 52 walks, 14 steals, and 96 hits are career highs. But the question isn’t can he put up numbers, he can, but can he hit right handers consistently enough to play full-time?

Take Werth’s season numbers over his mere 347 at-bats and you might say “this guy has to play full-time”. He is hitting .277/.374/.519 with the running stats I mentioned above. He is a plus outfielder and can play all three outfield positions. He is also an incredible athlete and is a ver smart runner. Werth has only been caught stealing 5 times in 43 career attempts and has only grounded into 16 double plays.

Those are very good numbers. But how are his splits?

[TABLE=98]

The splits are pretty dramatic. Werth seems to have zero power against righties and seems to hit a homer off of every lefty. By the way, the splits also have nothing to do with home ballpark wither (his Home/Road splits are virtually identical). This is no fluke either. In his career he is .291/.376/.546 against lefties and .251/.350/.411 against righties. Where does the power go? What about the average? Platoon anyone?

Not so fast.

Like I said above, he posses plus defensive tools, he is a very smart baserunner, and he is an incredible athlete. He also knows how to get on base against righties (.375 OBP this year) and that has a ton of value.

So, what’s my verdict you ask? This is what I would do: If I was the manager of Jayson Werth I would make sure he played every single game against lefties and I would bat him near the top of the order. I would sit Werth against tough righties (Sheets, Zambrano, Webb, Haren…) but play him against fringe righties and/or any righty that has control issues and bat him probably 7th. He belongs on the field as much as possible but he has to be put in situations where he can flourish and right now that means he can’t play every single day.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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