Food For Thought: Nick Swisher

Bean counter or ballplayer?
Open Thread: Regular Season Reminder

It’s been more than two years since I implored the Yankees to look into Nick Swisher as a potential buy-low option, but of course I was talking about adding him as a first baseman since it looked unlikely that Mark Teixeira was coming to New York at the time. Anyways, you all know what happened next; Swish has gone on the enjoy two tremendously productive seasons with the Yankees since then, but just how productive compared to the rest of his career?

Bill Petti of Beyond The Box Score examined Swisher’s year-by-year park adjusted OPS totals (which is what you see above), and showed that the Yankees’ right fielder hasn’t really taken his offensive game to another level over the last two seasons. He just rebounded from his hideous 2008 season with the ChiSox to perform like he had with the Athletics in 2006 and 2007. Go figure.

OPS, even adjusted, isn’t the best metric, but for quick and dirty stuff like this it’s perfectly fine. Swisher has posted a .376 wOBA with 7.4 fWAR over the last two years compared to a .364 wOBA with 7.2 fWAR with Oakland from 2006-2007, so the difference is negligible once you consider just how inexact some of this stuff is. It’s pretty obvious that his 2008 season was nothing more than an unfortunate fluke, but I still blame Ozzie Guillen.

Bean counter or ballplayer?
Open Thread: Regular Season Reminder
  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    but I still blame Ozzie Guillen.

    sure, take the easy way out.


  • MikeD

    I’ll be interested to see what Swisher does in 2011, meaning does he look more like 2010 Swish or Swish from the other seasons.

    I expect another solid season because, as noted, he’s been very good save for his 2008 season with the White Sox, producing OPS+’s between 122 and 130 in four of the past five years. Yet his approach did change last year, as he became more agressive, with his walks dropping, his BA increasing, and his power increasing slightly. He seemed to be jumping on pitches earlier in the count last year that he normally would have let pass. Opposing MLB pitchers, noting now that Swisher is more agressive early on, may try to get him to fish for pitches out of the zone. If he does, his stats could drop. On the other hand, if they pitch him more out of the strike zone and he doesn’t reach for them, he may end up increasing his walks again while maintaining the higher BA, meaning he may improve upon his 2010 career year.

    His BABIP was higher last year, although that might be a function of his different, more aggressive hitting approach, just as his below-average BABIP in prior seasons may have resulted from his more patient approach. Yet his LD percentage last year wasn’t any higher, and he clearly swinging at more pitches both in and out of the strike zone.

    So to sum it all up, I have no EFFing idea what to expect from Swisher in 2011, beyond the fact it should be a solid season…again. : -)

  • Buffee

    My hat is off to your astute cmonmad over this topic?bravo!