At age 34, Jayson Werth has just about done it all in baseball. He has batted in pretty much every spot of the order, played all the outfield positions, and even a little at first base.
Werth has a career .274 average, has batted as high as .318 and and as low as .238 in individual seasons where he played in at least 100 games. He has had two 20/20 seasons — almost a third — and has hit as many as 36 homers in a year. Last season, he produced these numbers for the Nationals:
So what, right?
What were are here for is his value going into our next fantasy season, not a Jayson Werth stat biography. Well, the point I am trying to make, is that Werth is a bit of an amalgam in that no two seasons are the same, especially consecutive seasons. This is due in large part to Werth’s inability to stay healthy in consecutive years—with the exceptions of 2009-2011.
I often warn against playing the “what if” game, specifically when it comes to injuries. However there are some players that struggle to stay healthy on a season-to-season basis (I’m talking to you Troy Tulowitzki). When dealing with such players you have to take a consideration with risk versus reward. So we need to ask ourselves, are the stats that I will get from a healthy Werth enough to assume the risk if he has a DL riddled season?
We know that no one is taking Werth any earlier than maybe the 15th round. That is probably right about where you should be rounding out your outfield hitters after having most other hitters and a solid pitching rotation. If you can land Werth after round 20 as a bench player or your last active hitter, terrific! This means in an auction he is going for $5 max, hopefully a buck.
Key factors in Werth being a guy to wait on are:
- Health: You just never know if he will be playing a full season or not, and at-bats matter so much in fantasy baseball.
- Age: He ain’t getting any younger, folks, and this certainly won’t help him stay healthy and on the field.
- Batting Order: Werth is not likely to bat a the top of the order at this stage in his career. I would not imagine he bats any higher than 6 without some guys having some DL stints or major slumps in front of him.
The plus side in Werth being a guy to wait on are:
- He can very well give you a nice season of 20 Homers and 10 steals. That and the fact that he has over a .300 average in his last 700 (granted that is over 2 seasons) and you have yourself a nice player at the very end of your draft.
- It may not be much of a bright side, but as long as you don’t reach, Werth is a decent risk reward option.
If I had to venture some type of floor to ceiling on Jayson Werth, I might land somewhere around:
Werth should be good for right around this many at-bats, barring a long or multiple DL stints. As it is, I have accounted for at least one trip to the DL. He will also most likely be batting 7th or 8th, which is why I don’t even have him at 400 at-bats.
This is about appropriate for his past three seasons, taking into account age and playing it conservative with batting average. With that said, it would not be surprising if Werth had as many as 500 at-bats or as low as 200. So of course be prepared for anything with Werth!