Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Jayson Werth shows what he can do for the Nats
By Pablo Roa
It’s been a rough season for the Washington Nationals. The team that was heavily favored to win the NL East and cruise to the World Series has grossly underperformed all year long, plagued by injuries and down years by some of its most important players.
While it’s been a down year for the Nationals, it’s been an absolutely dreadful year for outfielder Jayson Werth. Werth was on the disabled list for most of the season with a broken wrist, and even when he is playing, the outfielder has struggled mightily at the plate.
In 72 games this season, Werth is hitting just .229 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs. While he’s improved substantially of late, the outfielder’s batting average is still nearly 50 points below his career norm (.273), and nearly 70 points lower than what it was last season (.292).
Of course, it hasn’t been easy for Werth. An injury like the one he suffered can completely drain a hitter’s power, and it took Werth a long time to get his timing back since he essentially had to start the season over from scratch once he returned from the injury.
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Despite his down year, Werth is still of immense value to the Nationals. He’s had many memorable moments throughout his career in DC, with the most memorable being his walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS.
Indeed, when Werth is healthy and productive, he can be a catalyst for the Nationals’ offense no matter where you put him in the lineup. In past years he’s seen great success from the middle of the order, driving in runs and playing a leading role in the Nationals’ offense. This year, he’s seen some success out of the leadoff role.
Last night’s win over the Phillies showed just how crucial Werth can be for his club. In the game, Werth went 2-for-6 with two home runs and six RBIs. The first homer was a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the fifth. The second homer was once again a go-ahead shot, this time giving the Nationals a 7-6 lead in the 10th inning.
Now, Werth’s success isn’t limited to just last night. After struggling with his bat for most of the second half, Werth is hitting .313 with five home runs and 14 RBIs over his last 15 games. While it might be too late to salvage his stats this year, Werth has shown that he can still be productive and has given Nationals fans a reason to be optimistic for 2016.
Given his rough season and the wrist injury, many have already written off Werth. Some say that the outfielder is done with the Nationals, and others say he’ll spend all of 2016 on the bench.
Right now, it looks like Werth has other plans. The outfielder is showing he can still be a leader of the offense, and if he can stay healthy next season, he might just make those who wrote him off eat their words.
Next: Washington Nationals Recap: Jayson Werth Hits Two Home Runs In 11-Inning Win Over Phillies