Phormula: Jayson Werth More than $2 Mil

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, June 30, 2009 10:50 AM | Comments: 28
Posts, Statistical Analysis

Jayson Werth grabbed some national attention over the weekend in becoming only the 14th player to ever reach the fifth deck at Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome.) While the 458-foot homer gave a glimpse of Werth’s power to the casual baseball fan who has never heard of him, it is safe to say that the Phillies five-tool outfielder will continue to fly under the radar.

But why?

We’re talking about an integral part of a defending World Series champion who often bats third for a team that plays a lot of nationally televised games. Maybe it’s Werth’s streakiness, maybe it’s the perception that he’s still little more than a platoon player, or maybe it’s merely the fact that the Phillies have too many other media-friendly names to focus on.

The platoon label that has followed Werth throughout his career is gone now. Yes, he struggles considerably more against right-handers than he does with southpaws, but seven of Werth’s fifteen home-runs this year have come against righties. And his slugging percentage against righties has increased every season since he joined the Phillies.

As with most players on the brink of stardom, Werth spends long stretches at both ends of the spectrum. He’ll strikeout at an alarming rate for two weeks, then scorch through the next two.

For an example of a Jayson Werth “cold spell,” look no further than mid-May of this year. After a decent start to the month, Werth struck out four times against the Dodgers on May 14 and proceeded to enter a 12-for-71 tailspin, seeing his batting average drop from .299 to .243 in under three weeks. During that span, Werth had five walks, 23 strikeouts, and only four extra-base hits. Luckily for the Phils, the rest of the lineup (minus Jimmy Rollins) was hitting well during this time, and the team went 13-5.

But when the Phillies were welcomed by interleague play, a rash of injuries, and poor hitting, Werth was one of the few bright spots. In those 15 games against the AL (eight of which were started by lefties), he hit .333/.412/.754, with seven homers and 15 RBI. He saw the ball much better, working nine walks while striking out only eleven times. Werth’s current hot streak was capped off by a weekend against the Blue Jays (the team he reached the majors with), in which he hit two homers and reached base in his final eleven plate appearances.

In Sunday’s win, he singled and walked four times. The Jays obviously wanted no part of Werth, and the patient righty was more than happy to work a quartet of free passes. After all, his disciplined eye is his best trait.

In 2009, Werth leads the NL in pitches per plate appearance (4.50) and is second in the majors in total number of pitches seen. But the man in front of him, Marco Scutaro, has seen only 17 more pitches in six more games played than Werth.

This isn’t some sort of fluke, either, as Werth led all major leaguers not named Nick Swisher in 2008 with 4.51 P/PA.

Werth’s value doesn’t end there, however. Over the last few seasons, he has been one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, according to Fangraphs.com’s all-encompassing defensive stat, UZR.

UZR is short for Ultimate Zone Rating, and it includes a fielder’s arm, range, and amount of errors committed. Last season, Werth was second among ALL major league outfielders with a UZR of 21.5. This means that he saved 21.5 more runs than the average outfielder. The Phillies just saw 2008’s leader in Alex Rios. This season, Werth’s UZR is fifth among NL right-fielders.

Since joining the Phils, Jayson Werth has shown us that in any given game he can belt three homers, steal four bases (including home), throw two runners out at third, work four walks, or don a “golden sombrero.” The streakiness will likely always be there. But the excitement will be too. It’s amazing that this guy is making $2 million.

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About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 Eric S

    Pretty sure Corey Seidman wrote this one, not Brian Michael.

  • Posts: 0 GWFightinsFan

    I disagree about Werth being on the brink of stardom, he’s far too inconsistent, and when he’s bad, he’s reaaaaly bad. I’d be willing to trade him for some pitching and go with Mayberry out in right.

  • Posts: 0 FAIMILY

    Mayberry? He has yet to prove himself in the big league, hes barely batting over 200.. sure he has power potential but he is right now an extremelly poor mans adam dunn.. I would rather have werth during a cold streak than mayberry and im sure everyone would agree

  • He might be overpaid next year at $7 million though. And GW is right. He can look really bad at the plate. Thank god for that D.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Y.

    I like Werth. Good power, speed, and a pretty good fielder.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Mayberry will never be anywhere near the player Werth is. Werth is underrated because he does a lot of things that most people don’t realize, like play great D, run the bases well and wear out opposing pitchers by taking tons of pitches.

    Jayson Werth is an above average everyday player, John Mayberry Jr. is a 4th OF.

  • Posts: 0 The Dispy

    Hey Corey. Thanks for the analysis. What do you want US to say? You’re right.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Mayberry is maybe half the player that Werth is ..

    I like the “when Werth is bad, he’s really bad” comments… and the evidence to that arguement is that when Werth was in his worst slump of the season, his batting average dropped all the way to just over .250 (aka Pat Burrell’s lifetime avg.)

    I said last week, and I’ll say it again now.. there aren’t a whole lot of RF’s I would take over Jayson Werth

  • Posts: 0 Sean P.

    Very nice artcle, with all those pitches he sees during an at-bat and his speed it seems like he could be a potential lead-off hitter?

    I’d love to see J-Roll hit out of the 8 hole and Werth lead off.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I love Werth but trust me he is not overpaid. Next year he is making 7 million in his contract. Thats to high for him. Jason is way way way to streaky for a ballplayer. He went a month without hitting the ball. Now he is hitting again. He is to up and down to overpay.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    While Werth may be evaluated (by who?) as an all-tool typed player, he has yet to play to his full potential. Werth has been hampered by his constant streakiness and struggles against certain righthanded pitching.
    Patience with at bats can have its’ rewards provided it used wisely. I suspect the manager (as well as many fans) is exasperated with Werth’s approach in allowing himself to pass on the only one good pitch to hit that hitters will usually have in their at bat. Instead, he predictably falls behind in the count as pitchers knowing his approach, will throw first pitch strike down the middle without fear. Werth hasn’t shown on a consistent basis to be a successful 2-strike hitter like Utley. Therefore, I don’t see him as a capable .300 hitter.

    Yes, Werth can be considered “above average” outfielder with a strong arm and good speed on the basepaths. That ability alone separates him from sitting on the bench. And that he is playing regularly by default considering the options from the bench.

    We can only hope that Werth will continue to strive for improvement as he gains experience and maturity as a lineup regular for the remainder of the season. I can see him provide some power numbers…say..25 HRs and about 80 RBIs at seasons’ end. The fly in the ointment however, is his BA. I’m predicting .255.

  • Posts: 0 Phillies Fan in NYC

    Sean P., I kind of agree with that… why can’t he lead off for a bit? He sees a lot of pitches, walks when he’s seeing things well, rarely pops up and has decent speed. I guess it’s too big an experiment for the way this team is configured, but the thought is certainly something to entertain.

  • Posts: 0 phil

    all of you guys bashing werth are insane. hes our 4th best player this year behind ibanez whose been a freak utley who is utley and howard who isnt much better than werth

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    “he is playing regularly by default considering the options from the bench”

    Bruce, I have to strongly disagree with you here. Werth is playing everyday because he’s good, not because the Phillies don’t have other options. How many other RF in baseball would you take over Werth? Maybe 10. That means Werth is an everyday player.

    And I think your .255 BA estimate is very low, considering he’s hit .298, .273 and now .271 in his 3 years as a Phillie.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I would agree that of the two, Victorino is more expendable.

    Phillies acquired.Brian Mazone from the Dodgers, clearly a minor league depth move. Watch here they assign him, it could give us an indication of what pitching prospects could be traded soon.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    and for people who are into more advance stats, his OPS in his 3 years as a Phillie is .863, .861 and .859. That is an amazingly consistent player from year to year (with in-season peaks and valleys, just like everybody else). When you combine that with superior defensive in RF, you have a very good player.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    A brief response to Griffin: I’ll stand by my comment that you highlighted in your post. My comment is in regards only to the team Werth plays for. As you should know, the Phillies’ bench is less than desirable, especially in the OF, in comparison with other contending clubs. Chances are Werth would be a platoon player (as in past years with the Phillies) with other clubs having bench strength.

    Now that Werth is a regular in the lineup, he is being more exposed to righthanded pitching. With those additional at bats of struggles vs righthanders, he will have a more difficult time to match those BAs for past years playing part time. My predicted .255BA may be too low but not likely if Werth continues to think of himself as a 2-strike hitter in allowing pitchers (especially righthanders) to get ahead in the count.

  • Posts: 0 beta sigma shag

    My two cents:
    who ever said they would trade Jayson for pitching and put Mayberry in right field is simply crazy or High and if that is the case pass some over here.
    Jayson is an above average player offensivly and defensivly and his slumps are hardly ever prolonged,
    As far as him leading off, if JRoll was not playing, and we had another right handed power hitter i could see trying that. But when this team is at is back to normal ie Raul is back in left. Jayson is really only option to split up the lefties if need be, So no I do not think he would lead off,

    Now onto tonights game I do not think it is auto matic loss cause Lowe is pitching, JB has had a few good outings and Atlanta’s offense is struggling, so I realy think four runs for the Phillies would win it.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Bruce, I agree with your line of thinking that if Werth is overexposed against RHP, then his overall BA will drop. He did have 263 AB vs. RHP last year (and hit .255 against them). This year he has 181 AB vs. RHP and is hitting only .243 against them. Although he is a below average hitter against righties, he often gets to face lefty relievers late in games due to the fact that he is surrounded by lefty bats in the lineup.

    But Werth kills lefties. This year he is hitting .330 against them with an astronomical 1.104 OPS!

    So I agree that Werth struggles against RHP, but his great defense makes him playable and if Werth faced only LHP all the time, he’d be a top 3 MVP candidate in the league.

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    Its simple……Werth is underrated because when people think of the Phillies they think…

    Ryan Howard
    Chase Utley
    Jimmy Rollins
    Cole Hamels
    Shane Victorino
    Raaul Ibanez

    before the name Jayson Werth comes to mind..

    He’s like the Melky Cabrera of the Yankees…. great player but not who you think of first when you think Yankees

  • Posts: 0 Pete

    He’s only making $2 mill this year due to the arbitration process.

    He’ll make $7 million next year and I believe the Phillies should trade him to make room for Michael Taylor.

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    Trade him really…. Pete are you aware we have a shortage of Right handed bats?’

    Although i agree we makes for a good trading chip the Phils aren’t in a position to unload him this year.

  • Posts: 0 Adolf O. Bush


  • Posts: 0 Chris L

    While I don’t want to have him traded away, he might be the one who makes the most sense if we hope they acquire a top level pitcher. Mayberry can then either play every day or platoon with Stairs. If it’s not for a sure # 2 then they should keep him though.

  • Posts: 0 Brian of CO

    He may be “streaky” but he is doing far better then J-Roll over all offensively.

  • Posts: 0 Flex

    Werth is a beast!

  • [...] and home in the same inning; leading the NL in HR off of left handed pitching last season (15); currently leading the NL in pitches per at bat (4.50).  And, now, he has been handsomely rewarded by manager Charlie Manual with this great [...]

  • [...] home in the same inning; leading the NL in HR off of left handed pitching in the 2008 season (15); currently leading the NL in pitches per at bat (4.50). And, now, he has been handsomely rewarded by manager Charlie Manual with this great [...]

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