Jayson Werth: 2014 Year in Review
By Ryan Ritchey
The 2013 season for Jayson Werth wasn’t a full one, as he only played in 129 games. But, he performed well when he was on the field, hitting .318/.398/.532 — his best slash line since he finished eighth in MVP in 2010 with Philadelphia. The great season he had in 2013 led to high expectations that would be hard to reach in 2014.
The good news is he was close to being just as good as he was in 2010. His average wasn’t necessarily in that range, but he reached base at close to a .400 clip, falling just short at .394. That is back-to-back seasons with an on-base percentage over .390 and that is a testament to him being patient at the plate.
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Werth was a four and half win player for the second consecutive season. This season he was closer to five and only trailed Anthony Rendon for the club lead in the category, even if it was by a huge gap. His wRC+ led the team, and that is due to him being patient at the plate and drawing walks to begin rallies.
He secured his third straight season of having an OPS+ over 100, but something just wasn’t the same about Werth. He was starting to get back to his old ways of striking out a lot, and he wasn’t the power threat that he was in years past. Overall, he had a good season for the Nationals and things should be back to normal next season.
I don’t think it is worrisome, but for the first time since 2005 he failed to hit at least 20 dingers while playing in 100 games. I’m not sure if it was because he was being so patient or if it is because he was hitting the gaps more and hitting the ball towards the line as much. When he pulled the ball is where he got his home runs, but most of the flyballs he hit that didn’t leave the yard were to the opposite field. Here is his 2014 spray chart:
The 2015 season will be the fifth season of his seven-year contract and by my accounts he has lived up to it already, but has room for improvement. The FanGraphs steamer projects Werth to get back to 20 homers, but has dropped his walks down just a bit. He is projected to be a three and half win player, and in my opinion, will be the leader of a team that plays October baseball in consecutive seasons.