Fun for today is trying to find the outfielders in either league that were better than Jayson Werth offensively in 2010. Your mileage may vary.
Here’s the outfield guys that finished ahead of Werth in runs created and runs created per 27 outs as calculated by ESPN and in offensive war (as calculated by Baseball-Reference) in 2010:
|Runs Created||Runs Created per 27 outs||Offensive WAR|
|Jose Bautista||Josh Hamilton||Jose Bautista|
|Carlos Gonzalez||Carlos Gonzalez||Josh Hamilton|
|Josh Hamilton||Jose Bautista||Shin-Soo Choo|
|Matt Holliday||Nelson Cruz||Matt Holliday|
Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Texas’s Josh Hamilton are ahead of Werth in all three of those categories. Bautista hit 54 home runs and on-based .378 for the year. Hamilton hit 359/411/633 for the year. Both of those guys need to be on any list of outfielders who were better than Werth offensively in 2010.
After that things get a little less clear. There are four players that are better than Werth in at least one of the three categories in the table above, but worse in at least one other. They are Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo.
Carlos Gonzalez finished ahead of Werth in runs created and runs created per 27 outs, but behind him in offensive war. Werth got 16 more plate appearances than Gonzalez and hit seven fewer home runs while batting .296 to Gonzalez’s .336. He hit 12 more doubles, but seven fewer triples. He walked more than twice as many times as Gonzalez and put up the better on-base percentage, .388 to .376. Gonzalez hit 289/322/453 away from home while Werth hit 270/365/463. Gonzalez drove in 117 runs and Werth drove in 85. Werth had an OPS+ for the year of 145, Gonzalez 143.
Holliday topped Werth in each of the three slash categories except slugging, where they tied. He outhit him .312 to .296 and on-based .390 to Werth’s .388. In 23 more plate appearances, Holliday struck out 54 fewer times than Werth. Holliday’s OPS+ of 149 tops Werth’s 145.
Cruz got just 445 plate appearances on the season, but outhit Werth .318 to .296 and out-slugged him .576 to .532 with an OPS+ of 150. Werth drew walks more regularly, so despite the fact that Cruz’s batting average was twenty-two points higher, he posted the better on-base percentage (.388 for Werth and .374 for Cruz).
Choo hit 300/401/484 in his 646 plate appearances with an OPS+ of 148. Werth had six more plate appearances and hit five more homers and 15 more doubles. Choo drew 83 walks to Werth’s 82 and struck out 29 fewer times.
In my mind, Gonzalez and Holliday were both better than Werth. I think it’s very close between Werth and Choo, but I would give the slight nod to Werth. I think Cruz has the weakest case of those four players, just because he had so many fewer chances to hit in 2010.
So that’s four on my list: Hamilton, Bautista, Gonzalez and Holliday.
The next question needs to be if there are outfielders that didn’t appear on the table above that could have been better than Werth offensively in 2010. My nominations for the four most productive outfielders not on the table above are Carl Crawford, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen and Vernon Wells.
Crawford may be the guy with the best case there, but I think that Werth has him beat. Five more plate appearances for Werth in which he hit eight more home runs, 16 more doubles and drew 36 more walks. Crawford outhit him .307 to .298 and delivered 11 more triples and stole 34 more bases while striking out 43 fewer times. Better power numbers and the better on-base percentage gives Werth an OPS that’s 70 points better than Crawford’s for the season.
Braun got 32 more plate appearances than Werth and hit fewer home runs and fewer doubles and walked 26 fewer times. He had a nice season, but he wasn’t better than Werth.
So did Andrew McCutchen. But, in one more plate appearance than Werth had fewer doubles, fewer homers and fewer walks. Werth out-OPSed him by more than a hundred points.
Wells hit 44 doubles and 31 homers, but on-based just .331 for the season. Corey Hart had a similar year in the NL with not quite as many doubles and a little bit better average, but again I think his .340 on-base percentage keeps him out of the better-than-Werth picture.
That leaves the list at four. Bautista, Hamilton, Gonzalez and Holliday. I think Choo and Crawford are right behind them, with Werth having had a slightly better year offensively than both of those players.
This article compares Werth and Crawford. It also says that Werth’s agent says Werth is worth more than Jason Bay, who got four years, $66 million from the Mets last winter. Bay had a miserable year for New York in which he hit 259/347/402 with six home runs and struck out at a higher rate than Werth (22.7% of PA for Bay and 22.5% for Werth).