Nationals Baseball: Jayson and the disappearing swing

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jayson and the disappearing swing

Losing a ground ball in the lights?  Nice. Maybe it is time to retire. Then the all but crowned ROY "focusing in" and letting a guy who hits about 6 homers a year jack a 380 foot shot.  He wouldn't have hit that off Danny Espinosa (mostly because Danny would pitch too slow or walk him or give up an easy line drive hit - but you can't say I'm wrong!)

In other news, I want to like Jayson Werth.  I really haven't hammered him because he's been mostly hmm...  let's say "productive" at the plate (it was a hideous June that made everything look so bad), he's been decent in the field, and he's been good on the basepaths.  All the while he's mostly held his head up during this whole thing.  No, he hasn't been perfect with the media but he easily could have turned on everyone and been a surly jerk and that doesn't seem to have happened. Plus, everyone is entitled to a bad year right? It's not his fault that the Nationals stupidly offered him all that cash.

But then I read articles like this and I can't.  No he isn't surly but he sure does sound like he's making excuses. He lost his swing and he had no one that could help him because his swing is sooo unique and only a couple of Phillies could possibly understand it. It is the specialist of special flowers. And he didn't have his videos!  I know I can't hit a wiffle ball without my VHS copy of Days of Thunder. What's next, locusts?

This whole "I lost it but now I've found it and am doing good" really doesn't jive with what we saw this year. Well, I'll take that back. It jives with the first two months. April was bad, but only BA wise.  He was seeing and slugging the ball fine.  Fancy stats suggest that he was hitting the ball on the ground WAY too much and not connecting squarely at all.  Perhaps that slow start was an swing issue. Then he fixed it. May was his best month.  Everything was fine. It was classic Werth more or less. It was June where it went to hell. He stopped hitting the ball at all.  It wasn't a huge change in how he was hitting it, he just wasn't hitting it with any authority.  He caught some bad breaks too making the month horrible, but the same issues carried on into July where he didn't catch the same bad breaks but was still a hole at the plate.  He seemed to set things right in August but only at the expense of his patience.  Now in September things have gotten bad again - he's hitting nothing square.   So "I lost it, then I found it, then I lost it again, then I found it again, then I lost it?" Or maybe, just maybe, it's not that simple.

Werth doesn't deserve the grief he's taking for living up to a contract he wasn't worth. But at the same time by taking that contract you have to expect that grief, deserved or not.  You took the money, you didn't deliver, you "did wrong".  When you do wrong the best way to move forward is not to make lame excuses that don't explain everything. Just keep your head down, chin up, and tell everyone what they want to hear, then make what you say a reality.  For Jayson Werth that's saying it's on off-year, you're working on it and expect to be much better in 2012. That's all they want to hear right now.  Then make it a reality.


Froggy said...

Ok I'll bite...

In defense of Werth (only in defense of your comments mind you) I read the article and it seems to me Werth is being pretty darn honest about how he sucked and lost his swing. It is a unique swing and if he has a method that includes watching the previous season games to analyze his good days vice bad, and having a couple players on the Phillies who knew him and could offer advice then so be it.

I think the bigger issue is what Davey said in that he might have been pressing too much to be a leader to the young guys in the clubhouse. That isn't a bad thing in my book.

You are right however about the bottom line: He has to do better in 2012 and with an extra month off this off season, there will be no excuses allowed next year.

Harper said...

the real problem is anything he says is going to sound bad because fans are starting at a bad place. Even him saying he;s been injured would lead to a barrage of "why didn't he tell anyone"? That's why you don't say anything. For what it's worth : I think Jayson (or any player) is the most likely to know what exactly is wrong with himself AND is the most likely to delude himself into thinking it's something it's not. So even though he has the most knowledge on hand - I don't trust him anymore than anyone else.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

In the NATS' current winning mode Werth has contributed both at the plate and in the field. While he has stranded too many runners in scoring postition so have others (Espy, Desmond) who have picked up the slack lately. His defense in right/centerfield has been supurb. As for the contract, NATS don't pay that, he does not come and maybe they do not have 74 wins right now.

Harper said...

Sec 204 - I guess it depends on who was playing but based on what the Nats have on hand... Yeah I'd say they'd be 1 or 2 games behind without Werth.