2015 Washington Nationals Player Review: Jayson Werth


The Washington Nationals starting left fielder made $21 million in 2015, which was $4.5 million more than anyone else on the roster. At the same time, nine other position players on the team played more games than the 36-year old veteran. Of all the players on the Nats, it is safe to say that Jayson Werth is the most overpaid out of all of them.

Having accrued a baseball-reference WAR of -1.6, the Nationals were essentially paying Werth $13,125,000 for every win he took away from the team below what a replacement level player would have added. For comparison, MVP-candidate and fellow outfielder Bryce Harper was paid $252,525 for every win he added to the team in 2015.

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Overall, the Beard’s season in Washington was nothing short of a disappointment. Werth posted a .221/.302/.384 slash line with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in 88 games played, his shortest year since he missed half the season with a broken wrist back in 2012. His defense faltered as well, as he was making the switch to full-time starting left fielder for the first time in his career.

Coming off his best statistical season in Washington, Werth entered 2015 with higher expectations than ever. A vocal clubhouse leader, enough so where he feels comfortable enough to confront his manager about losing his team, Werth is undoubtedly an important piece to this team. The production, however, was not there for him in 2015, and the Nats paid the price. While some may call his season a down year or a fluke, most are pointedly arguing that Werth is truly in decline.

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What went wrong for Jayson at the plate in 2015? His walk percentage (10.1%) was the lowest he’s seen since his age-25 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, while his strikeout percentage of 22.2% was his highest total since 2011. What really stood out, however, was his groundball/flyball ratio, which plummeted from 0.99 in 2014 to 0.78 this past season. His inability to elevate the ball and get it out of the infield showed, as he averaged one groundball double play every 11 games, as opposed to the 16.3 games he averaged in 2014.

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No one expects Werth to be a perennial All-Star, he’s only made one trip to the Midsummer Classic after all, but the Nats are heavily reliant on solid production from his spot in the lineup. His lost season, along with a few other factors, certainly cost the Nats the chance at a postseason run. If the Nats are going to get any consolation at all for signing him to such a big deal, they are going to need a miracle turnaround in 2016.

D. . LF. Washington Nationals. JAYSON WERTH