If your a fan of the Washington Nationals, what I'm about to say next will in no way surprise you: prize free agent acquisition Jayson Werth has had a rough start to his career in the Nation's Capitol. Anyone who has flipped on a Nats game in the season's first six weeks could tell you that. But since baseball loves its statistics, I thought we'd take a look at some numbers that really drive the point home.
During Thursday's game, Mark Zuckerman of CSNwashington tweeted a statistic that really capsulizes how rough of a start this has been for Werth:
Werth has struck out three more times since those tweets, bringing his season total to 39 strikeouts in just 139 at bats. Werth is tied for seventh in the National League in strikeouts, lurking just below noted wind machines Ryan Howard, Drew Stubbs and Bill Hall on the wrong kind of leaders list.
Werth has only 31 hits in 2011, with only 14 of those hits going for extra bases. That of course would lead to a slash line (.223 BA/.325 OBP/.410 SLG) that should belong to a all-glove/no-stick shortstop, not a corner outfielder. Werth's .735 OPS currently ranks him 51st in the National League.
It's not all bad news. I mean, he can't possibly be any worse the rest of the year, right? And he seems to have a cannon for an arm. Werth is still on pace for 25 home runs, but sadly, only 58 runs batted in. The strikeouts are quite obviously the concern here, and in a marathon season like the one baseball provides, a six week slump can be overcome with a minor tweak or two and perhaps some luck. Jayson Werth's season isn't a bust yet, but I strongly suggest he take that bat off his shoulder soon before his inaugural campaign in Washington sinks to the bottom of the Potomac.