Open Thread: In which we harp on Swisher vs. Nady one more time


Joe Girardi‘s proclamation of Xavier Nady as starting right fielder earlier this week was a bit of a disappointment. Yet at the same time, as we’ve all noted over the past month, this “competition” will continue throughout the season. Once one hits a slump, chances are the other will start to get the majority of the at bats. While the RAB Triumvirate advocated Swisher, it’s not worth crying over.

You might remember an article from earlier this month, via Beyond the Boxscore, in which we presented Sky Kalkman’s analysis showing that Nick Swisher is the clear choice for right fielder. The analysis wasn’t without flaw; it was based mostly on CHONE projections, which are weighted in Swisher’s favor (not all projection systems rate him equally). Today he’s back up to it again, breaking down the players by offense and defense. It’s pretty tame compared to the last analysis, though it comes to the same conclusion.

Also interesting is how out of line 2008 was for each player. Sky uses wRAA, but we’ll just go with wOBA. After wOBAs of .336 and .346 in 2006 and 2007, Nady skyrocketed to .374 last year. Thankfully, that’s part of a consistently upward trend. Even if he regresses a bit, to say .365, it would be high-quality season. For Swisher it was a dip from .368 and .361 to .325. Yes, that’s a consistently downward trend, but .368 to .361 is hardly significant.

On the defensive end we’re learning nothing really new. Swisher has been fairly average, leaning towards slightly above, over the past three years. Nady’s UZR has been consistently negative throughout his career, but it doesn’t appear cripplingly so. Swisher also gets bonus points for logging over 1,000 career innings in CF, while Nady has just 45 at the most demanding outfield position.

This is just some information to chew on as we kick off the open thread. Yes, I still think Swisher should start, but I’m not worried because he’ll have the chance to prove his case once the games count. If Nady doesn’t get off to a hot start, you can figure to start seeing Swisher in right field five days a week by mid-April. If Nady gets off to a hot start, all the better for the team.

Before you guys have at it, we’d like to take just a second to mention the passing of former Yankee Johnny Blanchard. He was the backup backstop for the Yanks from 1959 to 1965, and hit quite well in the postseason. He was 76.

Categories : Open Thread



  2. andrew says:

    Can somebody explain to me why certain pitchers, like Pettitte today, pitch in minor league games instead of the ST games? Is it just simply because they need to get regular work in and there aren’t enough ST games to do that in?

  3. Thomas says:

    Fantasy, 12 teams, 5×5 scoring

    I was offered

    Giambi and Hamels


    Nelson Cruz and Brandon Webb

    Right now my utility/bench is Cruz, Chris Young, and Beltre.

    Should I do it?

  4. random says:

    Lets say Damon is rested once a week, Nady rested once a week and Damon plays center once a week (Swish in LF).

    None of those are unreasonable but this gives Swisher a decent chunk of playing time at least. If he DH’s once every two weeks he is playing half the games (also more than reasonable, Posada can’t DH everytime Matsui rests because that severely impacts the lineup).

    • Sounds good to me.

      2 games in LF, 1 game in RF, and half a game at DH every week = 3.5 games per week
      4.7 plate appearances per game x 3.5 games per week = 16.45 plate appearances per week
      23.1 weeks in the season (162/7) * 16.45 plate appearances per week = 379.9 plate appearances

      And yes, Swisher with 379.9 plate appearances makes him more critical to our 2009 success than the 300 or so total batters faced by Mariano Rivera.


      • random says:

        380 plate appearences + 30 or so when Tex rests his 6-7 games + HUGE insurance for injury/Nady ineffectiveness.

        Everyones going to get their ABs.

        • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

          Throw in another 20-30 PAs as a switch hitter with some pop coming off the bench.

          Swish will play plenty. If he does well, he could earn a starting role later this year or next year.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            Actually, make the 30-40 PAs. You could see him coming off the bench any game where they’re trailing after 7 innings and Molina started as catcher. Girardi PHs Swisher for Molina and plays him in RF for defensive purposes, where he gets another AB here and there late in games. 3rd string C replaces Molina.

            • 3rd string C replaces Molina.

              Wait, what? We’re carrying 3 catchers?

              That 3rd string catcher better be Melky Cabrera or I’m bailing on this plan.

              • Mike Pop says:

                Steve, are you high again?

              • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                With the question marks surrounding Posada, I’m assuming we carry a 3rd catcher. And the fact you are hearing about Melky being moved tells me the Yanks are thinking along the same lines.

                And no, I don’t believe all the stuff about how great Posada feels. What do you expect the Yanks to say?

                • Even with the questionmarks surrounding Posada, I would be absolutely shocked if we break camp with 3 catchers on the 25-man.

                  We won’t start carrying 3 catchers until Posada actually starts complaining of soreness.

                  The fact that the Yankees are thinking about moving Melky doesn’t necessarily mean they intend to carry 3 catchers, it could easily mean they intend to carry a second utility infielder, since right now we only have one.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  Do any of our infielders ever take days off? Jeter, Cano and Tex never do. Ransom is a placeholder. Alex never does when healthy. Swisher can back up at 1B. I don’t think 2nd utility IF is where the Yanks are leaning.

                  You need the 3rd Catcher for the late inning switches I mentioned, and in case of injury. They’re talking 120 games for Posada as the BEST case scenario, I think they’ll carry an extra C. Melky would be the 6th OF on this team, that makes little sense. They need to either deal him or expose him to waivers.

                • Melky would be the 6th OF on this team, that makes little sense.

                  FIFTH outfielder. FIFTH.

                  Don’t start with that Hideki Matsui bullshit.

                  I do see your point, though. Once we’re back to full-strength (i.e. Nails), there is SOME value in having a 3rd catcher. (Provided that that catcher can actually either hit or throw.)

                  Just not all season long. I’d say we carry 3 catchers for 40-60 games, tops.

                • Mike Pop says:

                  I bet Berroa could catch.

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  That sounds about right. When they feel 100% sure about Posada and have seen him hold his own back there in real game situations. Figure June-ish.

      • Sky says:

        Except Mariano’s plate appearances come in situations that average about twice as important as the average plate appearance. It’s why he pitches at the end of games versus the beginning of games.

        • No, the reason he pitches at the end of games rather than the beginning of games is because he’s not good enough to be a starter.

          Let’s nip that false narrative right in the bud before it takes root. Mariano is a closer because he’s a failed starter. He’s an amazingly good closer because he has mastered a repeatable delivery of a pitch practically impossible to square, but he’s a closer first and foremost because he is a failed starter.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            Sort of. Yes, Mo wasn’t very good as a starter but he also wasn’t given much of a chance, either. And he was still recuperating from elbow surgery when he was first called up in 95. After being sent back down, his velocity shot up in AAA and he was called back up and put in the bullpen in late 1995. He never got another chance to start, since he was so effective out of the pen.

            Starters and relievers have different skill sets. They’ve evolved into two distinct positions in the game. Guys are going all the way from College to the pros as relievers. Even the stodgy Baseball HOF has recognized this, and started inducting relievers.

            • Perhaps.

              But, the reason why the decision to bail on the starter plan made sense for Mariano (and similarly, doesn’t make sense for Joba) is that Mo was basically a one-pitch pitcher.

              I doubt he would have had the diversity to go through a lineup 4 times.

              • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                Actually, when he was called up his best pitch was the changeup, which is typically the last pitch most starters master. He had a sub par slider, GREAT 4 seamer and a 2 seamer. His first full season in 96, he would just go up the ladder with the 4 seamer, and hitters couldn’t hit it or lay off it. He added the cutter later on.

                Also, MO throwing one pitch is a misnomer. Technically, he throws all fastballs. But he throws 4 seamer, 2 seamer and cutter. He also has variations on the cutter, which is a big reason why he’s so good with it.

          • Sky says:

            I somewhat disagree about “not good enough to start”, but that’s not the issue. Given that Mo is a reliever, and a really good one at that, he’s going to pitch about 70 times for an inning a piece. Why not use those innings up front, leading off almost every other Yankee game with a scoreless inning? Because he might end up pitching in games where he wasn’t needed. When you save him for late in the game, you know he’s necessary when you use him — you can leverage his innings. So his innings tend to be more important than the average inning. So the batters he faces are more important matchups than the average matchup.

            • Am I the only Kevin? says:

              Ugh, really?

              All those 9th innings with 3 run leads against the bottom half of the order are more important than a tie game in the fifth with runners on?

  5. tshades says:

    .336 to .346 is

    part of a consistently upward trend…but .368 to .361 is hardly significant


    • random says:

      Its actually funny you should say something like that. As someone who has taken some graduate level statistics, its cringe-worthy sometimes when baseball fans get into saber without a good grounding in statistics. The worst part about it is that a lot of stastical properties are extremely counter intuitive. I’m not saying everyone should be a statictician if they want to understand sabermetrics, but there is a lot of people misinterpreting things and drawing false conclusions out there.

      • I just read that paragraph with my own eyes.

        • random says:

          I know you’re joking, but there is really no difference between drawing false conclusions from stats than drawing false conclusions from “seeing it with your own eyes”.

          Neither group has any idea they are doing it, and they both look down on the other, convinced they are right. Its quite silly, really.

          • I know you’re joking, but there is really no difference between drawing false conclusions from stats than drawing false conclusions from “seeing it with your own eyes”.

            This is true. I would counter, however, that most people who rely heavily on statistical analysis recognize the inherent inability of their methods to capture EVERYTHING and the acknowledge the exceptions to their rules/formulas than the opposite camp that adheres to visual scouting and pooh-poohs any sabermetric statistical analysis.

            Just my observation.

            • random says:

              Yes, the saber community is a bit more pragmatic than their traditional counterparts, but like any idea that gains popularity; the more new followers it gets the less a lot of them understand the ideas behind it and the more they become like the opposite camp.

              I was refering specifically though to breakdowns in statistical understanding however, which no one realises they are doing because they don’t intend to do it.(duh)

              I don’t blame anyone for this though, its some pretty complex stuff.
              Nate Silver’s PETCOTA doesn’t predict worth a damn how MLB teams will finish during a season but he can predict election results with astounding accuracy. Baseball is tough to model.

  6. Corey says:

    You guys hear that Tabata’s wife abducted some girl.

  7. Abuchawo says:


  8. Rich says:

    Nady skyrocketed to .374 last year. Thankfully, that’s part of a consistently upward trend. Even if he regresses a bit, to say .365, it would be high-quality season

    I view most of last year’s production as a function of the out of context partial season he had with the Pirates that wasn’t replicated with the Yankee last season, and won’t be this season.

    I think it’s in the Yankees’ best interests to trade him when and if his value peaks.

  9. pat says:

    Anybody know any good anti-virus software? My girlfriends laptop somehow contracted some nasty mother of a virus the “Spyware Protect 2009″ virus. It’s a sneaky mofo, it disabled the current anti-virus software and when I googled ways to kill it the goddamn thing changed the addressed I clicked on to some other fake websites. It’s ridiculous.

  10. Matt says:

    I obviously hope that Nady does well but I really don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m not gonna say it’ll be funny when Nady falls back to his career norms ’cause it would hurt the team, but it will most likely be a big “I told you so” moment for us Swisher fans.

    Stand strong, Nick!

  11. andrew says:

    another random rant about the new show. i finally get used to the hitting and i sim the season to the world series v the mets and we sweep them. i get to the offseason and what happens? both arod and posada retire. i cant help it. ive re-simmed the thing a million times. this game is succeeding in killing my soul.

  12. Matt says:

    So to anyone who was in on the mini-literary/Frankenstein discussion last night, I’m about to start a paper comparing the relationship between Victor and the creature to the relationship between Batman and the Joker in The Dark Knight.

  13. GG says:

    As I read about Tabata, I’m still sour about that deal, I’ve never liked Xman that much. If they really wanted to deal, they shoulda gone all out for Holliday.

  14. pat says:

    Dwight Howard is destroying the celtics right now.

  15. Manimal says:

    Would you not do the swisher trade if you had the chance to go back in time and tell cashman? We now have a cramped outfield and no one at thirdbase. No matter how much I despise Wilson Betemit, I would want him back.

  16. LiveFromNY says:

    why did the Yankees give out tickets to a “workout”? How long will that last? I can’t go (it’s the afternoon before the Cubbies exhibition game) but don’t know how to describe it to ask others if they want the tickets.

  17. Matt B says:

    Hey Im from Syracuse and we have the Washington Nationals AAA team here and I was wondering if there was anyone good to watch from their organization. If you cant list any of the top of your head is their a blog that i can look into to get more information about their prospects. I am excited because they do have Jordan Zimmerman but I still have to wait and see if he gets sent down. Thanks for the help

    • Matt says:

      Hey Im from Syracuse and we have the Washington Nationals AAA team here and I was wondering if there was anyone good to watch from their organization. If you cant list any of the top of your head is their a blog that i can look into to get more information about their prospects. I am excited because they do have Jordan Zimmerman but I still have to wait and see if he gets sent down. Thanks for the help

      Now I’m definitely not going to help you.

      But, seriously, I don’t know anything about the Nats farm system. On a similar note, I’m a relatively short drive from the CT Defenders–Giants AA squad–who’s gonna be there this year?

      • Mike Pop says:

        You can’t speak. Uconn—Cheats!

        • Matt says:

          Dude got expelled before the season even started.

          • Mike Pop says:


          • Steve H says:

            Speaks to a pattern.

          • Mike Pop says:

            Dude got expelled before the season even started.

            Does it excuse the act?

            • Matt says:

              No, but there shouldn’t be any penalties that involve anything more than recruiting restrictions.

              I’m preparing myself for a season that’s not nearly as good next year. Edwards is a solid back up, but I don’t think he can be a good starter. Dyson will be fine, as will Walker. Robinson is the real wild-card for the Huskies’ success next year.

              • Thomas says:

                They’ll also have PF Ater Majok, SG Jamal Trice, SF Jamal Coombs, and C Alex Oriakhi joining the team. The biggest problem for UConn will be backup point guard, where Beverly is second on the depth chart after Walker.

                • Matt says:

                  What happened to Okwandu (sp)? He got some legit minutes at the beginning of the year,then got nothing once conference play started.

                • Thomas says:

                  I think he got sick. I know for a while he and Haralson weren’t traveling with the team. I believe they both got the flu and then fell behind with academics, since they were sick, so they stayed at UConn for a few weeks. Now, he doesn’t play since Calhoun has shortened the bench.

      • Matt B says:

        To bad we can beat you if probably the best game I have ever seen…but then again dont be so hard on yourself

  18. John says:

    nady is a notorious hot starter… i say his righty bat helps the yankees through arods return when he starts tiring a bit… swisher comes in relatively fresh and hungry and starts hitting bombs over the right field wall… 400 abs between the two of them is definitely possible, and the best way to go

  19. dan says:

    Tabat’s wife is 43 years old.

    Just throwing that out there

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