Is He Werth It?

Posted: August 3, 2012 in Player Profile

By David Kerr

On May 11, 2006, Hideki Matsui fractured his left wrist while diving for a fly ball. He ended up returning on September 12th of that year and was able to contribute in 19 games. The amazing thing about those 19 games that he played in after returning was the fact that he batted .396 with a .477 OBP. He even chipped in 3 home runs. Prior to returning to the majors that September, Matsui had a brief 6 day rehab assignment. Even though he was an elite hitter at the time, it is still amazing that he was able to come back after major wrist surgery and hit almost .400.

Fast forward six years minus a little over a month and we have Jayson Werth. Werth suffered an injury very similar to Matsui’s and returned about a month sooner than “Godzilla” did in 2006. There are two important question’s that need to be answered regarding Werth, the first of which is how will he perform during the next two months?

It’s no secret that Jayson Werth had a highly forgettable 2011. His triple slash was .232/.330/.389 which is downright bad, especially after signing a 7 year deal worth 126 million dollars. Early this season he looked as though he was well on his way to a solid rebound campaign, but a fractured wrist forced him to miss the next 3 months. The Nationals are 21 games over .500 and haven’t exactly missed Werth, but his veteran presence is going to be highly valuable down the stretch. There is no doubt in my mind Werth will be a steady 5th outfielder on any fantasy team with the upside of being a 3rd outfielder. If you’re in an OBP league, his value increases slightly. In game 1 of today’s doubleheader between Miami and Washington, Werth walked three times. Even if his swing isn’t back immediately, he is going to walk. If Werth is getting on base, he’s going to steal some bases. Even in his dreadful 2011 season he was able to swipe 19 bags. If he can maintain a .270/.360 AVG/OBP, he should be able to steal 10 bags the rest of the way. I’m not totally convinced that his power will come back to career norms, especially playing home games in Nationals Park, but it wouldn’t surprised me if he hit 6-8 homers from here on out.

The next question regarding Jayson Werth is, is he worth owning in a standard 12 team mixed league? The answer is yes. Jayson Werth has a good enough track record that he should be owned with confidence. It may take a few weeks for him to totally get into a groove, but I think he’ll be very useful down the stretch.

A few players that I’d rather own Werth over are Chris Young, Cameron Maybin, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Quentin, Delmon Young, and Carlos Lee.

If Jayson Werth is on your waiver wire, I think you have to add him except in the shallowest of leagues. From here on out I think he’ll hit .265 with a .360 OBP, 7 homers, 10 steals, and 30 RBI’s. Remember he is in a pennant race, so it’s imperative that he performs. His time in Washington up to this point hasn’t exactly been rosy, so he could feel as though he needs to prove himself. Pick him up and be confident with him as a fifth outfielder with the upside for more.

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