Nationals Baseball: Werth Watch

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Werth Watch

Werth Watch : 1-4 with 2 K.  Good enough - if he can not follow it with an 0-fer

Bryce Watch : DNP. "Flu-like symptons".  We'll see if he plays tonight.

Robles Watch : DNS, 1-1 as a pinch hitter

Ryan Zimmerman Wa.... wait? what?

I heard the idea of sitting Werth than platooning Kendrick and Lind but why not look at a more natural place for Lind? Here are Zimm's splits in the July-now versus various handed pitchers

LHP: .324 5 2B 4 HR, 9 BBs, and 15K in 79 PAs  (.324 / .392 / .574, 11.4 BB%, 19.0 K%)
RHP: .229 4 2B, 11 HR, 15 BBs and 51K in 183 PAs  (.229 / .301 / .452, 8.2 BB%, 27.9 K%)

This kind of split isn't new. Ryan had a massive split in 2015 (.672  OPS vs 1.058 OPS) and as would be expected has hit lefties better than righties for most of his career. He's not a useless hitter at all vs RHP because his power remains, but he's definitely favoring one side now. But this isn't just Zimm in a vacuum. How about Adam Lind (and we're just going to look at RHP because who's starting Lind vs LHP)?

RHP : .290 6 2B, 8 HR, 13 BBs and 24 Ks in 153 PAs (.290 / .346 / .507, 8.5 BB%, 15.7 K%)

It's better, clearly, but not that much better. Strip out the names, and yeah you start Lind, but you can't just strip out the names, can you? 

Now are we being fair here, Zimm might have just had a crazy bad month in the last half, or Lind a crazy good one. Why not take the whole year?  That is one option though I worry about doing that for Zimm, who was the best player in baseball in April and hasn't come close to repeating that for any other month. In this year, and in his career that seems like an outlier. But you don't want to just take out the best month, so what I'll do is pull the best and worst months for Lind and Zimm vs RHP (by OPS) and see what we come up with in the rest of the time.

LIND : .329 / .377 / .580
ZIMM : .279 / .339 / .490

That feels right, don't you think? Lind is a righty masher - that can't be denied. Zimm, he's had some good months vs the righties and is capable of hitting them. This may be a little high average wise, but just a little.

How is Howie doing - I'll just pull out his RHP for the year, I'm tired. .313 / .361 / .447 and a 3 -year history at least of having no issues hitting RHP. Plus Howie gives you defense that the other two don't so why would you sit him? You wouldn't.

And this is where optimization to the Nth degree gets you - a lineup with Lind platooning with Zmm and Kendrick replacing Werth. Is that what you want? Of course this isn't happening and it shouldn't happen. We could have made this argument in several other places as well. Difo hits LHP better than Murphy are we sitting Murphy? In fact Turner is the one with the most problems vs LHP why not sit him for Difo? Bryce hasn't hit LHP as well as Kendrick, if Jayson gets hot why not an all RHB OF Kendrick-MAT-Werth for Kershaw? 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that while it's fun to look at splits and figure out who'd be best, these splits were made under particular circumstances and expecting them to exactly follow through in the limited time in the playoffs is a bad assumption. There may be other things at work than just raw talent versus a particular handed pitcher effecting a team when it rolls out to try to win a Division Series.

The same thing holds true for slumps and hot streaks.You can't simply rely on them to tell you how it's going to be in the playoffs, especially given the week off in between. The information has to overwhelmingly favor one-side to go against what you knew before. In Werth's case, it IS close to overwhelming, that's why a discussion is being had. But that means it won't take much from Werth to make it not so overwhelming and in that case he starts.


Time Bandit said...

I just got back from the future...don't bench Werth, he Kirk-Gibson's the Nats to the WS win. Oh, and sorry about everything bad I ever said about MAT. Just want to make that clear now...

Harper said...

Talk about a roll of the dice!

Ric said...

All this talk about Werth or Kendick, but what I think should be considered is Serevino over Wieters. I understand the problems of starting a rookie catcher in the postseason. But my gosh, have you seen Wieter's post-All Star break numbers? .196/.271/.297. OPS of .568.

Sammy Kent said...

IMHO there are 21 slots in the first post-season roster that are secure and safe barring injury between now and the start of the division series. A couple of them I don't necessarily think SHOULD be etched in stone, but from what I've seen and heard from Dusty this year and Rizzo over the years, I think these guys are in: 1. Max, 2. Stras, 3. Gio, 4. Tanner, 5. Doo, 6. Kintzler, 7. Albers, 8. Ollie, 9. Solis, 10. Madson, 11. Weiters, 12. Zim, 13. Murph, 14. Trea, 15. Tony 2 Bags, 16. Bryce, 17. Michael A., 18. Werth, 19. Howie, 20. Lindy, 21. Wilmer.

That leaves four spots open, at least one of which has to be a catcher. So the first question is do you take Loby, whom the pitchers love and is a defensive star compared to Weiters that simply hits awful, or Severino who has average, pop, and speed all 3, but is young and untested? Do you take both and have 3 catchers? Probably not. So one is in, one is out, and that leaves three spots. What say thee?

Your choices are Edwin Jackson, Enny Romero, Matt Grace, Joe Blanton, and A.J. Cole among pitchers; Sanchez if you want another infielder, and Bautista, Robles, and DeAza in the outfield. Who ya got?

If you're the manager, do you go with a three or four man rotation, and (presuming it's the Cubs) who do you start against (again presumably) Lester, Arietta, Lackey, Kendricks (or maybe back to Lester?????)? If we're down 2-1 do you bring Max (or Stras) back to pitch game 4, or trust Tanner Roark to get you to game 5 and give your ace normal rest?

I'm curious what you think.

blovy8 said...

I take Robles and Lobattin. Perez is the only real matchup guy and the rest tend to go full innings. The coin coin flip for me is that if Soils is your guy it probably should be another righty but Blanton worries me a lot more than Grace. I don't think Romero has gotten enough innings lately or shown enough command to trust, but in spots he does have nastier stuff than the other guys. Cole would have a better case for a seven game series where you might need three innings from someone with extras or a rain delay. Unless there is a rainout, rest is built into this series.

PotomacFan said...

Interesting question re: Game 4 starter. I was starting to write that it would definitely be Tanner, because you still have to win the series (i.e. not just Game 4, but also Game 5) and you really don't want to pitch Max on 3 days rest. But, Strasburg would be available for Game 5 on 4 days rest (because of the off day between Games 4 and 5), so in Game 4 you could start Max and pull him early for Tanner, or start Tanner and pull him for Max if needed.

JE34 said...

"In a year that has been so improbable..."

BxJaycobb said...

It's not just that Werth isn't getting hits. It's that he's making like no contact and seems to be striking out about half the time. That suggests he is totally overmatched and his only hope of connecting on a ball is basically cheating and guessing. There's zero argument for starting him vs a RHP instead of Lind. I guess there's an argument for starting him against a LHP over Kendrick but it's not a good one. It basically amounts to "locker room morale playoff roughness clubhouse culture blah blah." All of which has nothing to do with the fact that this team has been punchless on offense for over two months and we're going to willingly start two separate people batting like sub .220. Wieters has no alternative. Fine. But the Kendrick/Lind platoon makes sense. And if Jayson is a team guy he will just sit down. It's the final week. He isn't showing signs of life. A couple singles this week isn't going to change my mind.

ssln said...


Nothing is going to change your mind. Tell us some more stories of your meeting with the Wolfman and how he is too cool for school. I'm sure we would all appreciate your remarkable insight into this matter.
Here is a thought for everyone. Every playoff team has similar problems to what Harper just discussed. The key is not to over think these issues. You can not play both alternatives at the same time so you will never know how it would have worked out if you play one player over the other.
In the end, you either trust the manager's judgment or you don't. He is closer to the situation than you are. Or you could just trust Bx because he is our resident GM and smarter than Dusty and all of you.

Mr. T said...

"If Jayson is a team guy he will just sit down."

Not gonna happen. And not because Werth is abnormally selfish, or something. Put yourself in his position. You're a star athlete. (Or were, once.) You're in the last year of your contract, probably the last year of your career. Do you think, "well, I suck now, I should sit down and let some untested rookie take my spot on the playoff roster?" Or do you say, "these last 2 months don't represent who I am; I'm going to come through when it matters."

Unknown said...

I am for fielding whatever can help us win and don't care about feelings. If that means sitting Zim for Lind, I'm okay with that. I don't mean that is the way to go, only that if that is the way to go, go that way.
As for Lobaton, I've "evolved" on that issue. The backup catcher ain't going to catch anyway unless Wieters is hurt, he's only going to Pinch hit or run, so I take Severino. If Wieters gets hurt you can pull Lobaton up then, only Wieters can't come back to the I understand the rules.
I think you take:
4 starters - Max, Gio, Stras and Roark
Difo (any infield position), Robles (I've seen enough), Severino (for reasons mentioned), Lind (PH extraordinaire), Werth (Leadership, PH and leftfield)
8 Relievers?:
Blanton (ask me tomorrow I'll tell you something different)
Solis (see Blanton)
Long reliever (Cole or Jackson) - That's a tough one, Jackson can pinch run, but I think Cole has been a little more consistent. Jackson seems to be slipping back, but I would be satisfied with either one. Plus, if you're going to long relief the game is probably already out of hand so you're just taking your lumps on this one.

I don't know how Dusty will go on actual lineups, but guys have to produce and I'm not sure Werth can do that right now, he's just been really bad since he came back. He's always been a slow comer so to think he's going to emerge in the postseason is wishful thinking. Still I think Dusty will take him and probably start him because that is what manager's do. I just think his speed in the outfield and poor arm are a liability. He's a great leader and I like the guy, but he's 38 for God's sake and asking him to sit 2 months and be a factor is probably too much.

Harper said...

Sammy et al. Probably save the roster post for Friday, just because it makes sense to do it as close to the end as possible.

Sammy Kent said...

Al and I will be looking forward to it.

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