Jayson Werth vs Carl Crawford

 Mar, 24 - 2010   no comments   Uncategorized

I must admit I was a bit surprised at the reaction I got on my Carl Crawford piece from yesterday. People seem to think more highly of Carl than his numbers would suggest, and underrate Werth for some reason. So I wanted to take a minute to lay out some numbers, offensive and defensive, and then discuss contract status.

First, let’s look at both players offensively. I’m going to use ESPN’s 3 year split, since both players have made strides in recent years and the 3 year numbers are more representative of who they are at this point in their careers. Here goes:

Jayson Werth

Three year (2007-2009) Batting Splits
Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Total 1244 214 343 53 7 68 215 192 14 348 47 5 .276 .376 .494 .870

Carl Crawford

Three year (2007-2009) Batting Splits
Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Total 1633 258 490 77 27 34 205 113 15 271 135 33 .300 .349 .443 .792

No surprises here. Werth is way ahead in power numbers and OBP while Crawford blows away Jayson in Hits and Stolen Bases. It’s worth noting that Werth has produced his totals in 310 fewer Plate Appearances. Jayson has also stolen 20 bases each of the past 2 seasons, so his knees can’t be in as bad shape as some have tried to suggest.

Now let’s look at both players defensively using UZR/150:

Crawford

2007 -1.4

2008 +25.6

2009 +17.5

Werth

2007 +35.3

2008 +35.3

2009 +3.4

Of course, Werth plays the more valuable defensive position in RF. It’s also interesting to note that Crawford has played a grand total of 54 games in CF in his 8 year career. It’s not as if he was always blocked and hasn’t had an opportunity, the Rays 2005 starting CF was Damon Hollins and up to 2007 it was the often-injured Rocco Baldelli. The fact that he’s played those 54 games tells me they’ve moved him around at times, they just never seem to stick with it. Must be a reason. I suspect there’s something else going here, he probably doesn’t pick up the ball well out there, but that’s just a guess. In any case, I wouldn’t assume he can play CF for us, as others do.

Now let’s compare their value using total 3 year WAR and 2010 CHONE projection-

Crawford-11.3 total WAR/3.8 CHONE

Werth-14.6 total WAR/3.2 CHONE

Werth’s CHONE gets pulled down by being fairly useless early in his career, and Crawford’s 3 year WAR gets taken down a bit since he was hurt in 2008 and missed roughly 1/3 of the season. But even if you give him a 50% bump on his 2008 2.7 WAR, that would increase his total to 12.65, still well behind Werth over that period.

Finally, onto contract demands. Of course the marketplace will dictate what either player will get, but given their age (29/31) heading into free agency, it would stand to reason that Crawford will garner the longer deal. A good comp for Werth would be Jason Bay’s 4 year/66 mil deal. Crawford will likely get more years at a lower AAV, something in the 5-6 years 80-90 mil range. Carl’s value could shoot up even further with a big 2010 campaign, especially if he matches last year’s production. If he puts up another 5.5 WAR season, his price tag could soar north of 100 mil.


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