The Washington Nationals surprised the baseball world when they handed Jayson Werth a seven-year, $126 million contract. The skeptics are already saying that he won’t be able to perform to a level that justifies the salary he will be paid (he’ll get paid $10 million in ’11 according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, though it will obviously increase significantly after that). How bad could it be?
That question leads to my next wild prediction:
Jayson Werth will have less than 160 runs scored and RBI combined
First, let’s look at what he’d done the past two seasons:
- 2009 – 98 R, 99 RBI (197 total)
- 2010 – 106 R, 85 R (191 total)
The move away from Philadelphia alone is going to mean a major decrease in production for Werth. Over the past two years the bulk of his damage has been done in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. Of his 191 total in 2010, 108 of them came at home (about 56.5%). In 2009, 107 came at home (about 54.3%).
That may not seem like a huge difference, but if he posted his road pace for the entire season, you are only talking about 180 totals runs in 2009 and 166 in 2010.
Clearly, the ballpark change is going to have an impact, as will leaving the loaded Phillies lineup. No longer will he be joined by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and company. No longer will he have some of the elite hitters in the game either on base for him to drive in or waiting to send him home when he gets on base.
Now, he’ll have Ryan Zimmerman and a lot of question marks. Yes, Danny Espoinosa and Ian Desmond have potential, but they still bring only a fraction of what Utley & Rollins do. Does the addition of Adam LaRoche make a significant impact? He’s an improvement, but he is no Ryan Howard.
The hitters in the Nationals lineup bring promise, but they do not offer the same type of potential the Phillies do. Hitting in the middle of the order Werth may exceed 80 RBI, but would it be surprising to see him fall short of 80 R, especially if he gets penciled in fifth (where he spent the majority of ’09 & ’10)?
The change in lineups is certainly going to have a negative effect on Werth’s production, and it could potentially be epically so.
Chance of Happening: 10%
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Could it happen? Why or why not?
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Make sure to check out our previous Wild Predictions: