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My last post was about a young ace, so I’m following it up with an article on an old vase, Jayson Werth.  Just under two months shy of his 35th birthday, the bearded wonder is entering his 13th season in the bigs.  I find it difficult to predict Werth, as his production doesn’t abide by the “normal rules” of aging.  The pre-2009 Werth was deplorable when compared to the post-2009 version, or Werth 2.0, as I lovingly call him.

Season

PA

HR

R+RBI

AVG

OBP

LD%

FB%

HR/FB

BB%

K%

2002-2009

1611

57

451

0.263

0.354

23.63%

37.86%

15.29%

11.59%

26.67%

2009-2013

2853

113

754

0.280

0.373

19.66%

41.81%

14.66%

12.25%

21.75%

He definitely seems to be doing better as he ages.  He is walking slightly more (BB%), and striking out a bunch less (K%), which probably explains a good portion of the average jump.  His line drive rate (LD%) is down though, which is not a great sign.  A higher LD% is associated with a batter making better contact.  Most of Werth’s missing line drives transferred to his fly ball rate (FB%).  Fly balls are good for power hitters, which Werth doesn’t qualify as since he only has one 30+ HR season.  On top of this, his home run per fly ball rate (HR/FB) is down.  This means that he is hitting more fly balls, but fewer of them are saying hello to lucky fans and more are saying hello to an outfielder’s glove.

Here is another reason Werth has me at a loss for words:

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Yay graphs!!  Did I lose you?  I hope not.  The first graph shows Werth’s swing rate inside (Z) and outside (O) the strike zone.  This looks like bad news: he is swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone, and fewer inside the zone.  The green line on the second graph shows his overall swing rate, which has slight fluctuations, but is fairly stagnant.  This, when combined with the first graph, would lead to the conclusion that Werth is losing his feel of the strike zone.  The purple line shows Werth’s contact rate, and this is the part that takes the words out of my mouth.  Meat Loaf can also take the words out of my mouth, but that’s for another time.  Even though Werth is swinging at worse and worse pitches, he is making better contact.  Sounds like he has a case of the Vlad Guerreros.  His contact rate on balls thrown inside and outside of the strike zone are on the rise.  Obviously that’s good news, but it makes me question whether or not Werth’s production is sustainable.

So I didn’t just call Werth a vase because it rhymes with ace, but also because he is as fragile as one.  He has hit the DL in eight of his twelve seasons, including missing the entire 2006 season.  While it is true that most of his injuries were in his younger years, he hit the DL in both 2012 and 2013.  I think it’s a problem when a supposedly full time player has played in 150+ games in only three out of twelve seasons.  He is more fragile than when someone takes my ice cream away while I’m watching The Notebook.

The last point I wanted to make is related to Werth’s fragile body, his age.  He will be 35 for most of the 2014 season.  Me, in all my infinite wisdom, went and searched for elderly baseball players similar to him.  Since 2009, there have been fifty-three batters who have played during their age 34 and 35 seasons with at least 100 PA in each season.  There are a lot of familiar names on this list, such as: A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and even Vladimir Guerrero.  Now the first item of business: restrict PA more strictly to remove backups.  Backups always screw with my analyses because their numbers are so much lower than a full time player, so I have to pluck them out faster than I pluck out my eyebrows.  Out of the one hundred and six seasons I had (two for each batter), sixty-nine (tee-hee) seasons surpassed 300 PA.  But wait!  This only shows seasons that reached that marker.  What about players that only passed 300 PA in one of those seasons (Example: Travis Hafner had 368/263 PA in his 34/35 seasons)!?!?  Well I took that into account too.  After I did some more sorting, I removed players who didn’t break the 300 PA barrier in both seasons.  The list shrunk to twenty-nine players.  There are probably various reasons for not making the mark, such as retirement, skill decrease, and injury.  Below are the average stats of those twenty-nine players:

Age

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

BB%

K%

AVG

OBP

WAR

34

136

542

15

65

67

6

8.1%

14.6%

0.270

0.334

1.93

35

123

480

14

55

59

4

8.0%

15.0%

0.265

0.329

1.68

While the changes aren’t huge, they’re still there.  The biggest red flag is the games played and PA, which are way down.  This leads to the other counting stats taking a hit.  The walk rate is down and the K rate is up.  Honestly, it’s probably negligible, especially the walk rate.  But it’s my job to report on even the most insignificant details, the Razzball blood oath I took requires it.  The only other major factor is WAR, which is down a decent amount, about 13%.  I should note that Werth’s past three WARs are 2.3, 0.6, and 4.6; not exactly the model of consistency.  I don’t expect Werth to reach a 4.6 WAR again.

Okay, so before I said I had one last point, but I have another one…so sue me!  On second thought, please don’t, I’m broke after I lost all my money investing in pork-belly futures.  The real last point I want to make is Werth’s BABIP.  His career number is .331, and his BABIPs from 2012 and 2013 are .356 and .358, respectively.  These are two of the three highest BABIPs he has ever recorded, and his fourth highest BABIP, .352, came in 2010.  Do I smell regression?  Or is it that just the week old cheese I left on my kitchen counter?

Werth has a lot of potential to be a solid player, but I don’t see him getting there without a decent amount of luck.  It’s just not in the cards…I knew that travelling salesman ripped me off with these tarot cards.  I see his 2013 production as a ceiling, and it’s a very high ceiling at that.  I think a 74/19/72/.285/8 slash looks about right.  I never have trusted Jayson Werth to produce, and I probably never will.

Drum roll please! (as if I didn’t just give it away)

 

Jeremy is a contributor for Razzball Baseball. He had a last name, but he lost it in ‘Nam.  You can follow the soldier of misfortune on twitter @Jeremy_Razzball, just don’t trigger his flashbacks.

  1. Dead Head says:
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    Booo!

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Dead Head: I know this is going to be an unpopular article for many people. But I won’t pander to my audience!

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Jeremy: Or Panda! (that was a bear joke not an Asian joke…..or was it?)

        • Jeremy

          Jeremy says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: I don’t remember mentioning Pablo Sandoval…

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Jeremy: the bear at the end

  2. Bas says:
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    Hi Jeremy,

    I’am in a 12 teams 5×5 2 catcher league. I have Santana but my 2nd catcher is Jaso.

    Arencibia and Navarro are on the waiverlist. Should I take any of them and drop Jaso?

    Or trying to make a trade for a montero type of catcher?

    Thanks,
    Bas

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Bas: Jaso is fine as a second catcher. If you need home runs, Arencibia is the Adam Dunn of catchers. Jaso and Navarro are roughly equivalent. Giving the edge to Jaso.

  3. Kid A says:
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    Jeremy, why is life not fair?

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Kid A: I’m not a doctor, I can’t answer that. Ask your Dermatologist.

  4. bobbo says:
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    Start Smoak over Rizzo or Napoli tonight? He looks dialed in right now…

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @bobbo: I won’t own Napoli at all this year, due for regression. I’d trade him away. Smoak over Napoli.

      • bobbo says:
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        @Jeremy:
        I agree with you on Napoli… I didn’t draft him but he was dropped and when Fister hit the DL I had an empty roster spot. Certainly open to shopping him, but in the meantime was going to roll him out there at my INF spot. Smoak seems like a better choice given his hot start though.

        • bobbo says:
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          @bobbo: Damn you Napoli!!!!!

          • Jeremy

            Jeremy says:
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            @bobbo: Hah, oops. Can’t predict baseball on such small sample sizes. :(

          • Jeremy

            Jeremy says:
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            @bobbo: HAH! This is even better. All 3 hit bombs! You lose out on some RBI from Napoli, but damn, still.

  5. Shawn of the livid says:
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    I got a great price on Werth this year. So I hope you’re wrong. But understand you may be right. I own him and Rizzo on one team and I need them to not be total garbage.

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Shawn of the livid: I’m down on Werth, but if you paid next to nothing for him, the chances for return are high.

  6. Joe G says:
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    Jermy David wright or freddie freeman?

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Joe G: Depends on what you need. Who are your secondary 1B/3B? Are you short on steals?

      • Joe G says:
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        @Jeremy: my first baseman is Adrián González and my 3rd is David wright i have chris johnson for backup

        • Jeremy

          Jeremy says:
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          @Joe G: The difference between Wright and Johnson is bigger than the difference between Gonzo and Freeman. Just hold steady.

          • Joe G says:
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            @Jeremy: thanks for the advice

  7. nick the dick says:
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    Was just offered heyward/bj upton/middlebrooks for my werth/simmons/robertson. 10 team h2h with batter k’s as a category. Would still have 4 closers if I lost d-rob (koji, balfour, cishek, papa g). Just worried bout the strikeouts, don’t really want bj. Counter with just heyward/middlebrooks for werth/simmons? That’d be a steal yes?

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @nick the dick: BJ will be better this year. I assume the person initiating the trade wants the saves, so that counter won’t fly with them. Try Heyward/Middlebrooks for Werth/Robertson (or a different closer if you’d rather).

  8. de nachos says:
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    Werth has been my wife’s numero uno MLB crush since ’08. I’m going to show her this article to knock him down a few pegs. Then she’ll counter with this pic of Penelope Cruz

    and I’ll to pretend “oh no, babe. of course she’s fugly. I’d never.”

  9. stynyr says:
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    Brad Miller or Jedd Gyorko?

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @stynyr: I love me some Brad Miller. Everyone loves them some Brad Miller.

  10. Bbnr says:
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    In a keeper league in its first year. Can keep 4 plAyers and draft them a round earlier in next year. I wa offered sonny grey who was drafted by other team in the 8th for my tajuan walker who I drafted in the 10th round. Thoughts?

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Bbnr: Gray Gray Gray Gray Gray. One more Gray for good measure. Gray has proven himself more than Walker has.

  11. Ryan says:
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    Great article. I also got Werth for cheap but am now shopping him around after he went 4/5.
    Wasn’t real happy with how my draft went, I was wondering what you think of my team and where I should try to improve. Thanks
    C- Rosario
    1-Goldschmidt
    2-Altuve
    SS- Ramirez WSox
    3-Longoria
    Of-Gordon
    Of-Stanton
    Of-Brantley
    Of-Werth
    U-Pujols
    B-Bj Upton
    B-Frazier
    B-Lowrie

    P-J. Fernandez
    P-Teheran
    P-Uehara
    P-Liriano
    P-Reed
    P-Porcello
    P-Balfour
    P- Krod
    B-Gee
    It’s a 10 cat h2h 12er thanks for your insight

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Ryan: Thanks! :) That team looks really good. You have a nice mix of power and speed. Instead of holding 3 bench bats though, I’d look for another starter. Also, not a fan of Gee.

      • Ryan says:
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        @Jeremy: Thanks for the props..what are your thoughts on erasmo,, do you think he’d be a better addition than gee.

        • Jeremy

          Jeremy says:
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          @Ryan: I only like Gee for home starts (career 3.20 ERA at home, over 4.50 away). Erasmo has way more upside IMO. Erasmo has a higher ceiling and lower floor. You decide your risk level.

  12. Jayson .T. says:
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    Hey there, could you give me advice on who I should add/drop?

    It’s H2H scoring with ESPN , 10 tm lg.

    Here are the players I have:

    Catcher: Carlos Santana

    1b- goldschmidnt

    2b- pedroia

    3b- David wright

    SS – Alexi Ramirez

    IF- Eric Hosmer

    OF- Bryce Harper

    OF- Matt Holliday

    OF- hunter pence

    OF- Victorino

    Utility- Martin prado

    DH- Adam Dunn

    Bench- Andrelton Simmons, Christian Yelich , Salvador Perez , also have Grady Sizemore by moving Victorino to DL but it’s a weekly league so I’m stuck with Victorino at the of slot until Monday when rosters unlock

    SP- Strasberg

    SP- Bumgarner

    SP- tanaka

    RP- papelbon

    RP- slot open , didn’t have a chance to fill it before rosters locked
    Going to stream here anyways.

    Bench: geritt cole, zach wheeler.

    – looking at my roster what kind of moves would you make?

    There’s an owner who may be desperate for help; has darvish, kersaw, latos, another pitcher also jurikson profar & Jose Reyes on DL, would you look to trade tanaka or cole for someone one his team ?

    This is his team: yadier Molina, Joey votto, Ben zobrist, Kyle seager, Starlin Castro, Alex rios, jay Bruce, Dominic brown, Alfonso soriano, segura, Matt Adams, Daniel nava , profar , Reyes.

    Pitchers: kersaw , darvish, latos , Kimbrel, Sergio romo, Jordan Zimmerman , Doug fister, iwakuhama.

    Also, keep both Andrelton Simmons or drop one? If drop one- which one?

    Drop Victorino? Drop hunter pence? Drop yelich? Trade pence? Or Yelich?

    If I were to trade pence or Yelich , what could I get in return- player wise & looking at my roster?

    Here are some available players: kole Calhoun, leonys Martin , BJ upton , torii hunter, Emilio bonificio, justin smoak, Adam laroche, Chris Johnson, Jackie Bradley jr,

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Jayson .T.: This league is really shallow, so it’s hard to find something that another tea is lacking. I don’t like Victorino this year. I’d aim for Latos on that guy’s team. You don’t need Yelich or Salvador. Don’t even think about dropping Pence. Just find a closer on FA for that slot. 10 teams and 2 RP slots leaves a bunch on the wire. Your weakest spots are your 4th OF, and SS. I’d try to snag Reyes off him for cheap. Don’t overpay, because there is injury risk. That team’s biggest weakness is probably the OF, with Soriano. Try to pass off Holliday/(Tanaka or Cole) for Latos/Reyes. I’m writing this pretty late at night, so sorry if my answers are choppy.

      My biggest suggestion is play in deeper leagues. My personal preference is to play in leagues where not every team is full of studs.

      • Jayson .T. says:
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        @Jeremy:

        Yeah I know it’s not a deep league team wise- it’s a bunch of friends, we all take this seriously & are competitive with it too, we wanted to do a 12 but last sec two who were interested backed out, oh well lol, I’ll keep it in mind for next season, I’ve heard 12 or 14 teamers are the way to go.

        That being said, I just have to focus on this season, you said I don’t need sal Perez – but I have a feeling he’ll have a good season plus I could move Carlos Santana from C spot to DH & either drop or bench Dunn on certain weeks (it’s a weekly league not daily)

        Since you said you aren’t high on Victorino would you drop him? That fourth OF slot I agree is a weakness, but If I drop Victorino I was leaning on streaming for that spot

        Or drop yelich?

        Available players to add if I were to drop someone:
        Emilio benficio(2b/of)(if I spelt it right), Josh reddick, Dustin ackley(2b/of), brad miller, dexter fowler, Chris owings, jimmy Rollins, Jonathan villar, leonys Martin, kole Calhoun , Michael Brantley ,

        Should I be worried long term about Papelbon?

        Thanks

        • Jeremy

          Jeremy says:
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          @Jayson .T.: I drool for Brad Miller. I’d drop Dunn for him, put Perez in the C slot, and Santana in the DH slot. I missed that last night.

        • Jeremy

          Jeremy says:
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          @Jayson .T.: Papelbon has bad spells, but he is a fairly safe option overall, with little competition and a long leash.

  13. Joe G says:
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    Jeremy should i start Zack wheeler vs nationals today?

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy says:
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      @Joe G: Sorry for not getting to you fast enough. I would have said yes. Did you start him?

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