UPDATED: Jayson Werth Vs. Ben Francisco: A Tale of Two MLB Springs

Evan GuszContributor IIMarch 23, 2011

Werth and Francisco as teammates.
Werth and Francisco as teammates.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Spring training is almost over and I know you can’t read too much into players’ spring performances, but I though it would be interesting to compare the old Phillies right fielder against what appears to be his new replacement.

Jayson Werth has appeared in 14 spring games for his new team and has accumulated 39 at-bats with 10 walks for a total of 49 plate appearances, which averages to 3.5 trips to the plate per game.

Ben Francisco has appeared in 20 games with 52 at-bats and 7 walks for 59 plate appearances, an avg. of 2.95 times up a game. Jayson is walking once every five PA’s and Ben is drawing less free passes at a clip of once every eight PA’s.

Jayson has nine hits in his 39 chances for a not-so-good .238 batting average.  Ben, however is fairing much better with 19 hits in his 52 at-bats for a very nice .365 BA.  For sake of curiosity I checked previous springs for both and here is the result:

Ben Francisco hit .333 and .260 in 2009 and 2010, respectively; Jayson hit .333 and .203 for 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Werth, oddly, has yet to hit a home run this spring; he had a fairly respectable 9 combined in his previous 2 springs. Francisco went deep 3 times so far and hit a combined 7 in the last 2 springs. As a matter of fact, Jayson Werth has only 3 extra-base hits this spring, all doubles. Francisco has 7 extra-base hits: the 3 HR’s, 3 doubles and a triple. (Extra info:  John Mayberry, Jr. who will probably platoon with Francisco as Werth’s replacement has 9 extra base hits: 5 HR’s and 4 doubles which means Phillies right fielder’s have a whopping 12 HR’s in spring.) I know it’s only spring but one would assume Jayson would want to really impress his new teammates and bosses with a showing of some of his brutal power we witnessed here in Philly. The fact he hasn’t (at all) should really send up a warning signal.

One last stat: OPS, combined on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, a very telling stat as it shows the ability to not make an out and your ability to get yourself around the bases. Jayson OPS is well below the average starter at .685 and Francisco’s is a whopping 1.085. For comparison, Albert Pujols’ lifetime OPS is 1.011.

So, it’s fairly obvious who is having a better spring. And once again, I know it’s only spring training and it doesn’t mean a whole lot, but spring is where the season and, in most cases, Major League careers start.  If—and this is a big if—they were competing for the same job there would be no question who the winner would be.

Let me know what you think. Really, I’m interested and others are too.

UPDATE: I will be updating the story daily until the season starts with game by game performances for both players.

3/24: Jayson Werth: Nationals off; Ben Francisco: 1 plate appearance, 1 walk; 

3/25: Jayson Werth: 2 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI; Ben Francisco: PH, 0 for 1;