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Jayson Werth is a fan of the Nationals’ plan to be more aggressive on the bases

Mar 7, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Getty Images

You might not guess it by looking at him, but Jayson Werth is a very good base runner. The 34-year-old veteran has stolen 37 bases in 43 attempts in three somewhat injury-plagued seasons with the Nationals. In his prime with the Phillies, under the tutelage of first base coach Davey Lopes, Werth stole 60 bases in 68 attempts. As a result, he ranks fourth all-time in stolen base success rate at 87 percent, according to Baseball Reference.

With that said, it should come as no surprise that Werth is happy about manager Matt Williams’ intent to have his team be more aggressive on the bases. Via James Wagner of the Washington Post:

“The key to stealing bases is being aggressive,” Werth said. “We’re where we need to be. This will be the first year that it’s like this.”

[...]

Werth also believes the Nationals could thrive under this new way of thinking about running. The Nationals coaches have freed up players to make reads on their own and have given veterans green lights to decide when to run. Players can use their instincts instead of relying on signs.

“That’s the only way to steal bases,” Werth said. “That’s how base stealers steal bases. That’s how guys become great base stealers. You don’t become a good base stealer by getting steal signs and stealing. That’s when you get thrown out. Those philosophies are right now. I’m really happy about that.”

Last season, Werth was one of four Nationals to reach double-digits in stolen bases, along with Bryce Harper, Denard Span, and Ian Desmond. Recent free agent signee Nate McLouth could join them as well.

  1. macjacmccoy - Mar 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Sabermetrics, Sabermetrics, Yell, Yell, Yell, Never Steal Bases, Yell, Yell, Sabermetrics, Yell

    • cohnjusack - Mar 7, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      ….and you clearly have little understanding of sabermetrics if you think this is the sabermetric base stealing motto.

      • baberuthslegs - Mar 8, 2014 at 4:57 AM

        I read macjac’s comment as implying sarcasm. But maybe I’m wrong.

  2. recoveringcubsfan - Mar 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    I just want to say something about Werth’s injury history with the Nationals, since it keeps popping up in articles.

    His major injury was a broken wrist that he suffered making a diving play against the Phillies. As I kind of vaguely remember, he slid to make a catch in front of himself, his glove hit the ground and stuck in the turf, and he slid over his own arm and broke his wrist. That injury had nothing to do with fragility or any past injury history. On the other side of the ledger, he has had a lot of little hamstring, ankle, back, etc. things that have cost games. In terms of players who we think of when we think “injury prone,” Werth is probably higher on the list than he should be. Bill’s statement that Werth has been hurt a lot so far during his tenure in DC is fair (because it’s true), but my point is just that continuing to point that out makes it seem like he’s made of glass. I’m too lazy to look up how many games he’s missed for little injuries vs. the broken wrist, but I think outside the wrist he spends about as much time nursing injuries as any 30+-year-old in the league.

    • karlkolchak - Mar 8, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      Werth missed roughly half a season (81 games we’ll say for convenience sake) due to that wrist injury. So putting that aside, according to BR he has played 360 out of a possible 405 games for the Nats. Obviously, a few of those were not starts where he came in as a pinch hitter, but that really isn’t too bad.

  3. genericcommenter - Mar 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I remember when this guy was a light-hitting, speedy catcher.

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