In this article in the Washington Post, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth talks about how his 2011 season will hopefully just be “a fart in the wind” as he’s made changes to his swing going into 2012.
While reading the article, Werth mentioned how the issue in Werth’s swing, which caused him to struggle against left-handed pitching, was very evident to him. In that case, why didn’t he just change it right away last season when he noticed? Or wasn’t the flaw pointed out to Werth until the offseason, in which case, Washington hitting coach Rick Eckstein didn’t do his job correctly all season?
At any rate, 2011 was the only season in Werth’s career that he had a BABIP lower than .300. Werth was making more contact last season, and it was weaker contact, as his ground ball rate went up substantially while his fly ball rate went down substantially. Ground balls don’t normally get into gaps. Fly balls do. As a result, his ISO fell all the way to .157, his lowest since 2005 with the Dodgers.
Werth will be 33 this May, and a simple swing adjustment might not be enough to return him to the glory he possessed with the Phillies. As players age, they start losing power (unless you’re Barry Bonds), and Werth lost his power quickly last year. But then again, if he starts driving balls into the air again instead of slamming them into the ground, maybe some more of those balls are going to find holes in the outfield defense.