There’s no use in trying to convince you that Ruben Amaro had his facts straight when he downplayed the looming exodus of Jayson Werth. Almost the entire Phillies world knows better. (Getty Images)
Amaro took the first shots across Scott Boras’ bow this week when he attacked Werth’s RISP pressure point, then went on WIP radio and likened his season to that of Raul Ibanez. Either he’s a woefully ignorant player evaluator or he’s deluding himself. Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve kept my guard up about Werth for almost two years. I've had no qualms with his offense, but felt the "5-tool" label was a tad ambitious based on some issues I've had with his glove and station-to-station acumen.
I could have gone either way when the Phillies shopped him at mid-season, back when they were well out of first and Werth had dipped to a season-low .865 OPS on July 16 (which is still higher than Ryan Howard’s final .859). Keeping him was the right call; after July 16, he hit 320/.418/.569 over the remaining 70 games, playing a key role in recapturing the division and was by far the most consistent run producer, and defender, in the postseason. If his teammates has only performed better against the Giants, the decision to keep Werth for the stretch run would go down as one of Amaro’s best moves as GM.
Online, nobody has championed Werth's cause more the blogger Bill Baer of CrashburnAlley.com. Writing on his side-project site, BaseballAnalytics.org, Baer writes: “Over the past three calendar years, Werth has the fifth-highest wOBA among all Major League outfielders. At a ridiculous .389, Werth trails only Matt Holliday, Josh Hamilton, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ryan Braun. In 2009, Werth led all Major Leaguers in average pitches seen per plate appearance (4.5) and finished third this year (4.37). … With a hitter so patient and yet so potent, how do you pitch to him? It's a good question, one that opposing pitchers have yet to answer. As the following charts show, Werth has tremendous plate coverage and great power to all fields against both left- and right-handed pitchers. … He hits hard stuff (93rd percentile in wOBA, 2010) and soft stuff (95th percentile) alike. He even hits well with two strikes (97th). If there is an easy way to handle Jayson Werth, it's not obvious.”
Uribe’s homer: According to Jonathan Skippa, also writing on BaseballAnalytics.org, Juan Uribe “has hit 13 homers off right handed sliders since 2008, by Ryan Madson's Game 6, first-pitch slider was the only one he has taken to the opposite field. In fact, Uribe had hit no opposite field homers at all since 2008 before facing Madson in Game 6. And it was the second HR that Madson allowed to a RHB on a slider since 2008.”