Jayson Werth made headlines yesterday when he signed a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Washington Nationals. The NL East is already very familiar with him, but the pitchers on his former team in Philadelphia will be required to figure out his weaknesses.
The only problem? Werth has very few weaknesses at the plate. I went through the Baseball Analytics database trying to find something, anything, but came up with... well, not much.
The following heat maps include data all the way back to the start of the 2008 season. We see his performance against various pitch types from both right- and left-handed pitchers.
(Click to enlarge)
Obviously, there is a lot of red in every chart. The one constant is that Werth performs worse when pitches are located low-and-outside. Of course, pitchers simply cannot pepper low-and-outside -- they need to mix it up.
The bad news does not end there. Werth is among baseball's best when it comes to plate discipline. In 2009, he led all of Major League Baseball in pitches seen per plate appearance at 4.5 on average. In 2010, he finished third (first among National League hitters) at 4.37.
Oh, but Werth gets scarier. He compiled a .319 wOBA in two-strike counts during the 2010 season. The average hitter posted a .247 wOBA. Even when the pitcher is fortunate enough to get ahead of Werth, he still has a veritable mountain to climb before he can claim success. Bad news for pitchers everywhere, but especially for those wearing Phillies red.
The Nationals may have overcommitted and overpaid Werth, but they did sign one heck of a hitter.