Jayson Werth, OF (RHB)
Age: 29 (30, May 20)
2008: 418 AB / 73 R / 24 HR / 67 RBI / 57 BB / 119 SO / 20 SB / .273 AVG / .363 OBP / .498 SLG
Summary: Jayson Werth realized his potential in 2008, hitting 24 home runs and stealing 20 bases in a solid season. He reached career highs in almost every category, experiencing a dip in average and on-base percentage but a rise in slugging percentage. He continued to experience trouble with right-handed pitching, hitting .255 with a .407 slugging percentage. All those numbers are close to consistent with career norms. He did, however, keep a respectable on-base mark against righties, drawing a ton of walks. He flashed good leather in right field, throwing out nine runners as well.
Career Level: Prime (Year 2)
Green Flags: Most signs point to an uphill climb that will likely peak this year or in 2010. Almost every number improved from 2007. … His fly ball rates ballooned to 38 percent from 32.8 in 2007, signaling a spike in power (he slugged 1.049 on flys). His selectivity is intriguing; he doesn’t take swings outside the strike zone (22 percent in 2008). … He can rake lefties (.652 SLG). … He was an average hitter late and close and with men in scoring position; in 2007 he was horrendous late and close.
Red Flags: Werth’s strikeouts and strikeout rates were poor, recording a 0.48 B/KK rate in 2008. … Werth’s line drive rate faltered from 27 to 22 percent. That can come up. … Obviously Werth still has trouble against right-handed pitching.
Prognostication: It’s hard to predict Werth, as he regularly swings bad, but sometimes gets bad swings on balls that find holes. So to that, he can be average. And with his power and speed, he can be above average. With a healthy season, he can be very above average. We’ll say the latter. It’s his prime prime season. He should deliver.
2009 Projection: 532 AB / 79 R / 26 HR / 87 RBI / 64 BB / 129 SO / 24 SB / .298 AVG / .380 OBP / .487 SLG