Werth’s Struggles Simply A Swing Thing

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, June 03, 2009 02:15 PM | Comments: 18
Analysis, Posts

WerthSince May 19, Jayson Werth’s average has dipped tremendously, from .285 to the current mark of .249. Also since that time, Werth has struck out 17 times in 56 plate appearances; for the season, Werth has struck out 47 times and is on pace for a career-high 151 strikeouts.

Werth’s struggles are easy to see. By investigating some recent pitch charts, I’m seeing Werth is too busy looking at fastballs. Completely not swinging, he’s looking at more fastball strikes than any normal hitter should. His percentages back this up – Werth is swinging at only 38.4 percent of pitches this season, his lowest percentage ever.

What makes this more interesting is that Werth’s contact percentages are the highest of his career – 80 percent of his swings are making contact. That’s a pretty good percentage, and it makes sense – Werth’s long arms able him to catch anything. He has trouble with sliders in the dirt and fastballs high, but pitchers make more mistakes on those pitches, allowing for adaptation.

(As a contrast, strikeout partner Ryan Howard swings at more than 50 percent of pitches thrown to him; he makes contact with only 67.5 percent of pitches. He swings and misses. A lot.)

The point: Werth needs to swing. Whereas Jimmy Rollins has to take pitches at his lineup hole, Werth has the freedom to swing away down in the six-hole. Pitchers are still giving him first- and second-pitch fastballs in the zone. He has to take advantage. It’s the only way his average will rise back to norms.

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Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Albert

    Great take on Werth. I think some of his troubles are that pitchers are starting to figure out he likes to take pitches. Because of Werth taking so much, pitchers are pumping fastballs in there early in the count and getting ahead. Werth, just like you said, needs to swing away and make some pitchers pay. I said it before and I’ll say it again – this guy is going to hit .280.

  • Posts: 0 NEPA

    “Swing away Merrill. Merrill… swing away. “

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    Well…it does not take a rocket scientist (or pitching charts) to see why Werth continues to have his dreadful slump.

    I’ll repost a portion of my text on Werth that was given awhile back.

    “With the slump, he still continues to allow himself get behind in the pitcher’s count. His bat stays on the shoulder as pitchers are aware and take advantage with first pitch strikes. More often than not, he gets himself out. A message to Werth; a little more aggressiveness is required when in a slump. As of now, offensively, he is an automatic out and some fans have a new nickname for him..”Worthless” Werth.”

    Regarding your comment on Howard, as a super slugger he has that luxury to look awful on certain swings because he can do so much damage and turn the game around completely. By the way, Howard has improved on making contacts as his .268 BA attests.

  • Posts: 0 PGD

    good report on werth, some things i have noticed is he is swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone and just doesn’t look comfortable at the plate, many pitchers seemed to be throwing many pitches on the outer part of the plate as well so he needs to take balls the other way more like last year and that should help get him going again. He seems to be pulling off many breaking balls away and not staying back on them and driving them into right center field.

  • Posts: 0 PGD

    those are some of my thoughts along with the fact that hes taking too many fastballs, also nice Signs reference NEPA

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    I’m not worried about Werth. He’ll go from a guy who can’t get a hit to a guy that you can’t get out . He tends to do that. He’ll get hot soon enough.

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    also, the thing I notice with Werth lately is that he is way out in front. His front shoulder is flying out. and that is something that is common among almost all slumping hitters. once we see him go to the right center field gap with a few hits, we’ll know he’s getting back into form.

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    With Taylor, Brown and Mayberry tearing up their respective Minor league affiliates I say package Werth, Marson and Kendrick for a Halladay, Oswalt or Peavy. For Halladay that may have to be Carrasco instead of Kendrick. I heard that the braves may be willing to part with Vasquez soon. I would like him in a Phillie uniform as well. Maybe for Werth and Kendrick? Just saying…We are going to get rid of him at some point anyway, why not cash out now? And with all of the talent in our farm, get rid of one these prospect pitchers before they are no longer prospects.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Werth/Marson/Kendrick won’t get a deal done especially since Werth won’t be an attractive option for a team cutting payroll. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Werth come to the end of his deal and be tendered but leave as a type A free agent signing a very healthy deal somewhere else like Rowand. Vic holds more value to the team with how dynamic he can be and it’s going to be impossible to keep everyone through their free agent years.

    Werth’s very good for the here and now but it’s tough to see how the relationship will last past his current deal.

  • Posts: 0 christopher

    once again, what are these “norms” werth will be rising to? he is a career .262 hitter, and that has been playing as a platoon player to give him the best possible pitching matchups most of his career previously. i hope he proves me wrong, but as i’ve said before, if werth ends the season much higher than .250 i’ll be surprised.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Number 1: I wouldnt give up all that for Oswalt. Hes not as good as his contract says anymore. Theyve gotl ike 40+ committed to him in 2010-11. So no way. HUGE waste of money.

    Number 2: Jake Peavy is a fruitcake. you can see he cant handle even the slightest tinge of bigtime pressure. I want absoltely nothing to do with that overrated headcase.

    Number 3: Roy Halladay would be great if he were actually available, but he isnt as of yet. And that package probably wouldnt be enough. Also, Jayson Werth is the ONLY right handed power hitter we have…so trading him now isnt a good idea.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Oswalt isn’t going anywhere period, he’s said he isn’t playing past his current deal and has full no trade power.

  • Posts: 0 Morris Buttermaker

    Why don’t we have a batting coach who can help players when they are having problems like this? I like Milt Thompson a lot, but it seems like the Phillies always have 2 players stuck in major slumps at any given times. And it is always different players.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Those teams would hang up the phone if we offered Werth, Marson, and Kyle Kendrick.. for Cy Young pitchers..

    Werth will be fine.. he’s in a slump… he’ll also go on a stretch where he hits .500 for a few weeks.. we’re fine

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I agree Don.. Werth will be fine… However, he can start snapping out of this slump by simply swinging early and often, as this piece suggests. I know that in reality it’s not that easy… but it’s a starting point!

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    Any trade with werth and marson, has to include a top pitching prospect like drabek, worley, carrasco, bastardo

  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    Man I wonder where all you guys get the idea we should trade Werth. The guys in the minors may be ready next year, Mayberry possible, but the other two could be two or more years away before you can say the are major league ready. IMO some guys like Werth are streaky, and you can have one or two of those in an offense like this Phillies team. And if he goes at the end of his current deal so be it, I never got the idea you trade a guy, just cause he may not re sign. What does he have left on his deal, isn’t he locked up through 2010 or 11 by then maybe be one or two of those young studs will be ready and you let him walk, no harm no foul. I like Jayson and also think he will pull out of this slump soon, I think against the Dodgers, he likes to hit against those guys for some reason. I would not be opposed to giving him a day or two off or even moving him to 7th and let Pete Happy hit 6th for a week. Just a thought.
    By the way Jamie’s 250th was awesome to watch, my first game back at the park since opening day, will be back on Father’s Day,
    with love the shag from Vermont

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    I think the reason is a trade with the giants, will need a major league bat. that is my take. and he is a cheap major league bat.

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