Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Werth, the Baltimore Orioles first-round pick in the 1997 Draft, had a long history in the minors before eventually making his MLB debut. After being picked by the Orioles, Werth was eventually dealt north of the border to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he made his MLB debut in 2002. After injuries limited his playing time, Werth found his way to Los Angeles where he played for the Dodgers in 2004 and 2005. Werth hit 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in limited action with the Dodgers in 2004.
Werth found his way to the Phillies as a free agent during the 2006-2007 off-season. In 2007 Werth initially played as a pinch-hitter but soon found himself mixed into the Phillies lineup as a defensive replacement, replacing Pat Burrell in leftfield several times, and finally getting some time in rightfield with the injuries to Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino later in the year.
The performance that Werth turned in was impressive. In just 255 At-Bats, Werth managed to hit eight home runs and 49 RBI. His On-Base Percentage* was a robust .404. Werth is a terrific hitter with terrific plate discipline. In 2007, he was 4.6 pitches per plate appearance. This was easily the best on the Phillies roster, even better than Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard (4.2 each). This is the kind of hitter you want in your lineup - always working the count, getting on base, wearing the pitcher down.
* On-Base Percentage (OBP): How often a player gets on base. (H + BB + HBP) / (Plate Appearances)
Werth also batted .379 with runners in scoring position, again the best on the Phillies. In many respects, Werth was the Phillies most productive hitter. Check out runs created per 27 Outs:
Runs Created (RC): A stat originally created by Bill James to measure a player’s total contribution to his team’s lineup. Here is the formula: [(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times ((S * 1.125) + (D * 1.69) + (T * 3.02) + (HR * 3.73) + (.29 * (BB + HBP – IBB)) + (.492 * (SB + SF + SH)) – (.04 * K))] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH+ SF).
RC/27: Runs Created per 27 outs, essentially what a team of 9 of this player would score in a hypothetical game.
Interestingly, despite having 304 plate appearances in 2007, Werth never once grounded into a double play. Rowand grounded into 18.
Seen this way, the Phillies offense would function better with Werth than with Rowand, but let's look at fielding, where Rowand is supposed to be a Gold Glover. Who was the better fielder? This is a little tough, because Werth is taking over right and Rowand played center, but I think a case can be made that the Phillies new alignment will be stronger. Victorino is a talented outfielder with a terrific arm. When he played centerfield in 2006, after Rowand got hurt, he actually played better, with a perfect fielding percentage and greater range.
Victorino played well in rightfield in 2007, but Werth was pretty good. In terms of arms, Werth notched 7 assists in 2007 in rightfield in just 446 innings of work. Victorino, who finished second in the N.L. in assists amongst RF's, had 10 in double the innings.
Dave Pinto's Probabilistic Model of Range (PMR) also rates Werth the best RF in all of baseball in 2007, with a 114.32 ratio ... What is PMR, you might ask? I was afraid you would. Basically it takes a model of outs a player should have made, vs. what they really did. The difference between them is divided so that a score above 100 means they did better than expected, while a score below 100 means they did worse. Werth's 114.32 was by far the best in the major leagues. Victorino's 108.72 was second. Rowand had a 99.27.
In the final analysis, the Phillies might be better off with Rowand gone and his $12 million dollar committed toward bolstering the Phillies rotation and bullpen. Werth, if he plays close to his 2007 level, will wow Phillies fans in 2008 with terrific hitting and great fielding. Watch, he'll be great.
I like this guy for the same reason I like this team... they are fun to watch and full of the excitement that is needed to win.
Good post on the runs produced, I knew he did well last year but he is definetely did better than everyone else. Granted it was mostly against favorable pitching match ups for him.
I would like to see your comments on what drugs were legal and when they became illegal.
The term performance enhancing make me crazy. Gatorade is performance enhancing.
Where did this term come from?? Does it designate anything officially??
How does a doc's prescription change what is legal?? Can youn still take a steroid idf prescribed and be legal according to MLB rules??