How Jayson Werth fits at Nationals Park
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 10:11 AM
When Jayson Werth came to Nationals Park this winter for his introductory press conference, his agent, Scott Boras, came with him. Boras made the point that, of all the visiting parks he played, Werth hit best at Nationals Park, his new baseball home. "He would know," Werth said. "He's good at that stuff." In this case, Boras wasn't quite right. But he was close. One of the most fascinating aspects of the home team acquiring a big-ticket free agent comes in watching his adjustment to his new home ballpark. How does he see the ball at the plate? How quickly will he learn the wall's angles, or how the ball carries? With the Phillies, Werth had great success at Nationals Park. (Necessary caveat: he was facing Nationals pitching from the years 2007 to 2010.) Werth hit .307 with a .390 on-base percentage and a .580 slugging percentage. The only away parks where he played at least 20 games and had an OPS higher than .970 were Coors Field and Turner Field. Werth has hit six home runs at Nationals Park, more than he's hit at any other away park. Since the stadium opened, among visiting players, only Ryan Howard (nine) and Raul Ibanez (eight) have hit more home runs at Nats Park. "I always saw the ball real well there," Werth said. "I always seemed to hit the ball good while playing there." Defensively, Werth feels like the park suits his style. He's athletic for a right fielder, and the short porch in Philadelphia sometimes negated that - most balls over his head were homers, anyway. In Nationals Park, he'll be able to show off the speed that allows to play center field when needed. "It's got a big right field, which I like," Werth said. "I liked the short right field in Philly, because you can play shallow and throw people out at first. Or at least try. I never actually did. In Nationals Park, it's a big right field, so I'll be able to show my range a little bit. "Last year, in San Diego, there was a ball that was hit deep into right field. I managed to run it down. It was kind of more of a center field type play. I enjoyed that. The Nationals', it's not quite as big as San Diego, but it's a big right field." FROM THE POST Boz studies teen phenoms from history and finds Bryce Harper won't make it to the majors as quickly as many fans hope. Bryce Harper is here to make the team, a confidence borne from his unique career path. Jayson Werth is feeling confident in the Nationals' chances and his place on the team. FROM AROUND THE WEB Jeff Passan explains why the rules need to be different for Harper. Mark Zuckerman says Werth and Harper shared the spotlight -- and high expectations. Ben Goessling writes that Harper had confidence to spare.