With a few weeks left to draft, we'll be looking at some players whose average draft positions is either over- or under-selling their 2012 value. Last time out, we looked at Justin Verlander, who doesn't deserve the first round status he's being given by owners this year, and this time around we'll look at forgotten man Jayson Werth.
It's not that Werth shouldn't be drafted with some caution -- his 2011 was good and worth about $9, but overall disappointing and not the kind of season you would expect from Werth. The average draft position ratings at Mock Draft Central have Werth coming in at 95, with an ADP of 96.8. That's just outside of the top third of players selected in standard, 12-team leagues.
Werth is likely much better than that, though. Again, I'm not saying, "Draft Werth in the top 30"; rather, be aware that he could have that kind of value with a bounce back campaign. When you start to worry that all the potentially dominating outfielders are gone, remember that people aren't going hard at Werth this year thanks to his 2011.
Should the owners scared off by Werth feel that way? Werth struggled in 2011 mostly due to an inability to hit lefties well. Werth, a righty, has generally obliterated southpaws, and it's hard to believe that this trend would have reversed itself so suddenly and dramatically. It's more likely the struggles were a one-year aberration, and it's even easier to believe that when you compare it to his past splits:
|sOPS vs. RHP||sOPS vs. LHP|
sOPS is "split-adjusted OPS" -- it's essentially OPS+, but broken down into various splits. In this case, Werth's performances against both lefty and righty pitchers. He's never been bad against righties, but generally has been much more productive against southpaws. In 2011, his sOPS against left-handed pitchers was just 80, even though he produced a 111 mark against right-handers.
Look no further than his batting average on balls in play as the culprit, as Werth's BABIP against lefties was just .224, dropping his batting line against them to .184/.307/.368. He still had some power against them and could certainly draw a walk, but with that cratered batting average, his value plummeted. The reports on Werth from 2011 were never dire -- there was far less discussion of his being "broken" than say, Carl Crawford -- yet people still have been loathe to give him too much credit for the upcoming season.
He doesn't even need to be 100 percent the Werth of old to make him worth $20 -- he was worth $9 in 2011 despite failing at the area in which he has historically found the greatest success. Better production against lefties means more homers, more power, more RBI, more times on base for opportunities to score runs or steal -- it would make him a completely different player. And if you're willing to take a risk on him where so many other owners have not, you just might feel smart come the end of the year.