Is Jayson Werth A Third Round Pick In 2010?

Jayson Werth is coming off a career season.  Given his first true chance to play everyday he set career highs in home runs, RBI and runs.  He tied his career high in stolen bases as well as posting a usable average.  He was a 35/20 player, just what fantasy owners thirst for.

When you look at his line, you realize how good he was, but should he be going among the first 36 players selected on draft day (his current ADP is 34.35)?  Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at just how good he was in 2009:

571 At Bats
.268 Batting Average (153 Hits)
36 Home Runs
99 RBI
98 Runs
20 Stolen Bases
.373 On Base Percentage
.506 Slugging Percentage
.309 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The number that jumps out at you is his power considering he had just 33 career home runs prior to the 2008 season.  He had shown signs of being a source of power, hitting 16 HR for the Dodgers in 2004, but he had just never gotten the chance to put it on full display.

The past two seasons he’s been consistent.  In 2008 he posted a slugging percentage of .498, right in line with what he did last season.  The past two seasons he’s posted HR/FB of:

  • 2008 – 21.1%
  • 2009 – 19.3%

At this point he’s certainly proven that his power is very much for real, though there are a few flags worth mentioning.  He took advantage of his home ballpark in 2009, hitting 21 of his 36 home runs there in 2009.  Can he repeat that type of rate at home?

He also showed a drastic rise in his flyball rate, going from 38.0% to 44.4%.  Over his career he’s at about 40%, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see his power fall a little bit in 2010.  I’m not suggesting a huge falloff, but 30 HR is probably going to be the limit.

With the power has come his opportunity to drive in runs.  When you hit primarily fifth or sixth in a lineup that features Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, the opportunity is going to be there.  Chances are, in 2010 that is going to be able to continue.

The runs scored is a little bit less of a certainty.  While they have deepened their lineup a little bit, with the addition of Placido Polanco, they aren’t going to have real firepower in the seventh and eighth slots.  Shane Victorino is going to drive in some runs, but is it realistic to anticipate Werth closing in on 100 once again?  That seems like a dream in my book.  Very few sixth place hitters have that type of potential, just considering the types of hitters behind them.  Werth is no different.

The average is very usable, but it isn’t elite and likely isn’t going up significantly without a lot of luck.  Over the past two seasons Werth has posted strikeout rates of 28.5% and 27.3%, respectively.

When you are producing that many outs without putting the ball in play, you need to have significant luck in order to post an average above .280.  He also hasn’t shown the ability to cut down on his strikeouts, considering his career mark of 29.5%.

Simply put, he’s not going to hurt you in the average department, but he’s not likely to help you there either.

As for his speed,  it is what it is at this point.  He’s posted back-to-back 20 stolen base seasons and that should continue.  The thing is, while he’s extremely efficient when he does run, he doesn’t do it very often.

Over the past two seasons he has gone 40-for-44 in stolen bases.  That alone tells you not to look for a big increase in his totals.  Unless the Phillies instruct him to run significantly more, he just isn’t likely to do so.

So, let’s see what we are looking at for 2010:

.264 (145-550), 29 HR, 95 RBI, 80 R, 19 SB, .309 BABIP, .362 OBP, .495 SLG

Now, the question is do those statistics deserve to be a third round selection?  Here’s just a few of the position players he’s being drafted ahead of:

  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Ryan Zimmerman
  • Justin Morneau
  • Adam Lind
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Carlos Beltran

That’s not to mention that he’s being selected before any pitcher not named Lincecum, Greinke, Sabathia or Hernandez (most notably, he’s going before Halladay, the #2 pitcher on my Top 45 rankings posted yesterday which you can view by clicking here).

In fact, he’s being selected around the same time as Justin Upton, who is, on average, going to selection before him.  Does Werth really belong in that class?  He’s a good player, needless to say, but with the anticipated dropoff in power and runs to go along with a modest average, at best, I just feel like this is a bit of a stretch.  He’s a player I’d like to own, but not at this position in the draft.  So, I wouldn’t anticipate him being on any of my teams in 2010.

What about you?  Would you select Werth this early?  Where would you select him?

Make sure to check out some more of our 2010 projections, including:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

4 comments

  1. scott says:

    Fantastic article. I think your analysis of Werth is spot-on, though I expect his power to stay level rather than drop. If I had the first pick in the 4th round, I would pass on Werth. If I had the last pick in the 4th round, I think I’d take him. Somewhere in between is my dividing line.

  2. ClayHenry says:

    After one fully healthy year… people also forget that he is an injury risk. That also makes him no better than a 4th/5th rounder in my book. I will still happily keep him in my 8 player keeper league though. :)

  3. Pointman says:

    I agree with clayHenry –probably 4/5th rounder. Not someone I would target as I did last year. In my league we get to keep one player each year who we drafted in the 11th rd or later the previous yr -for one yr. Im keeping Werth over Braxton and J. Weaver.

  4. Ben says:

    I feel confident with the Werth projection however there is one x-factor in all of this. He is in his contract year. With that being said, I think that there is a realistic chance that there could be some growth in some of his numbers. Having never received a big “pay day” you have to believe that there is some extra motivation for him to keep it together for one more year.

    Also, while he does strike out quite a bit, he is also one of the most patient hitters in baseball and gets to see a lot of fastballs late in counts. His ratios to me, indicate that there may be some room for growth. After all, his career can’t be looked at as a whole given he has been two different animals through the course. As a reserve, you have a different mentality/approach on a day-to-day basis. Werth has thrived in the 1.5 seasons he has been starting and his body has been able to avoid the rigors of playing 140-150 throughout his career.

    With that, I’ll go on the aggressive side and say that this will be a career year for Jayson.

    BA .273
    OBP .385
    HR 39
    RBI 102
    SB 22
    R 88

    He should slug over .520 and be good for close to 600 ab’s should the team allow it. Never under estimate a man when his livelihood is on the line.

    Great reading all the projections.

    Cheers,

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