First off Yay Lannan! I've got to get some sort of pro-Lannan graphic going here.
Jayson Werth is an easy target right now. This past off-season he got paid a lot more than he was worth, for a lot longer than he should have been. He had a hideous first month of baseball. A week or so ago he mouthed off in frustration at the team. That's a lot for a guy that's only played 50 games as a Nat.
Because of that, people are taking potshots at Jayson. I can buy saying he should keep his mouth shut about things until he's proven himself here. If you're going to say stuff you either do it right away (and hope you start hot) or after you've shown that you can carry the team, not after a few hot weeks. But other people have gone further. He's not a leader. He doesn't talk to the media like he should. He's overrated. Stop. Shut up about Jayson's "intangibles". And frankly it's time to take another look at his numbers.
First off, anyone who thought Jayson Werth would play to his contract, which would make him overrated, is an idiot. That was a career year, at the age of 31. Chances are... let me see... carry the one... a million-billionty to one that we see that Jayson for the length of the contract. In fact, I'd say the odds are better than not that we never see that Jayson again. The contract (for some reason) wasn't about duplicating that performance.
Secondly, Jayson's numbers right now, .255 / .342 / .435 seem bad in two contexts. In light of the awesome line he put up last year (which again - will never happen again) and in light of the numbers we've come to expect in baseball the past two years. Those too, are gone. The bats have been on a steady decline since 2006 and a rapid one since 2009. In 2009 the average line in the NL was .259 / .331 / .409. So far in 2011 it stands at .251 / .319 /.386. Debate the reasons all you want, the point is that Jayson might be hitting worse, but so is the whole league. His OPS+ when factoring in league numbers and park effects is 115. In 2007 and 2008 it was 120 and 121. In 2009 it was 129. He's basically a hot week from being as useful offensively to the Nats so far in 2011 as he was to the Phillies from '07-'09.
Thirdly, that is of course taking into account that terrible start. Jayson's May numbers were .287 /.364 /.455 for an adjusted OPS of 130. Unless you were an pie-in-the-sky optimist, Jayson in May provided exactly as much offense as you hoped for.
Jayson Werth has not been a hero for this team, but he's been nearly as good as any reasonable person could have expected. There are reasons this team is losing, but this guy performing better than average is not one of them. What he is though is a bigger and better target in comparison to Ian Desmond, Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, and whichever jabroni is playing 3rd while Zimmerman sits.