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        Jayson Werth is currently in the second year of his 7 year $126 million mega-deal with the Washington Nationals.  After a dismal first season and not coming close to living up to his contract, Werth has quietly had a revival of sorts in 2012.  He received lots of media attention in 2011 for his poor play, even as the Nationals finished a respectable 80-81.  In 2012 however, Washington has taken off and transformed into perhaps the best all-around team in the National League.  Werth was a non-factor in the first half of the campaign due to a DL stint, as young phenoms Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper received all the attention.  The two young studs were accompanied by former all-star Ryan Zimmerman, the emergence of guys like Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond, and a phenomenal pitching staff all the way around.  

                Since coming off the DL, Jayson Werth has played in 74 games and has made major contributions out of the leadoff spot; a spot that lacked production in the first half for D.C.  The Nationals right-fielder has posted a tremendous .390 OBP and has been able to get the offense rolling.  Werth has also very impressively only struck out in 16.6% of his plate appearances in 2012, a statistic well below his career average of 24.1%.  Werth, a 6 foot 5 inch right-handed hitter, may not appear to be a conventional leadoff hitter, but when you find a guy who leads his team in OBP and doesn’t strike out as often, he is a perfect fit for the spot.  Although his home run percentage is down in 2012 (1.6%) from his career mark (3.7%), Werth still has the ability to pop one every once in a while. Werth possesses above average speed as well, swiping 8 bags in 10 attempts in limited time in 2012.  

                In my mind, Jayson Werth is the key for the Nationals as they make their first Postseason appearance since 1933.  Just getting on base, as he has been doing, is all the Nationals need from him with the likes of Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond hitting behind him.  Another attribute Werth brings is plenty of postseason experience, as he won a ring in 2008 while in the City of Brotherly Love.  There is no question Washington is an extremely talented ball club headed into October (yes, even with Stephan Strasburg being shutdown), but they are young. Werth should be able to instill confidence and relax his teammates as most of them experience the thrill of being in the postseason for the first time. 

 


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