Jayson Werth: You're Gonna Go Far, Kid
At 30-years-old and with seven years big league experience spread out over three different teams, Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth is among the best players you don't really hear about.
Werth has become not only a batter you can't pitch around, but is now forcing pitchers to have a plan when facing him. A 20/20 guy last year, Werth is on pace to repeat that feat and has already passed his power numbers from a year ago.
Consider also that on a given night the first five batters in the lineup are left-handed, it's possible for a pitcher to make a mistake to a guy who likes to hit dead read fastballs.
There is no questioning if the Phillies made the right move in dumping Pat Burrell (.232 average, 12 home runs, 45 RBI) to make room for Ibanez, and giving Werth a significant role in their lineup. Werth was expected to produce in 2009 and has so far answered the call.
Compare Werth to the likes of other middle lineup guys on competitors like Dodgers' third basemen Casey Blake, the Braves' shortstop Yunel Escobar, Cubs' center fielder Kosuke Fukudome, or Rockies' right fielder Brad Hawpe, and you will see Werth trumps them all.
Escobar is hitting .302, but lacks the power (11 home runs, 60 RBI) to compete with Werth.
Fukudome does not compare either this season: a .277 average with 11 home runs, 45 RBI, and eight stolen bases gives Werth a clear advantage.
Casey Blake is the same story. At .281, he has a higher batting average but falls short on power with 14 home runs and 68 RBI.
Hawpe is an interesting comparison. At .304, he trumps Werth in average but again the power and roundness is not there: 17 home runs, 73 RBI, and one stolen base.
I still give the edge to Werth based on his numbers through 116 games: .270 BA, 28 home runs, 76 RBI, and 13 stolen bases.
A defensive presence as well, Werth is posting a .981 fielding percentage and is tied for sixth in the NL with nine outfield assists.
Werth is a consistent bat who picks his teammates up by driving in runs while also hitting the long ball. His 28 home runs are second among National League outfielders, his 76 RBI are seventh best, and 13 stolen bases are tied for 10th place.
A threat in postseason play as well, Werth hit .309 with two home runs and four RBI in last year's World Series run.
Fear Werth down the home stretch, as he continues to delight fans with his production in the already dangerous Phillies lineup.
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