Swisher’s road trip rebound

Swisher's homer gives Yankees sweep over A's
MLBTR's list of potentially available starters
(From Flickr user jcantroot under a Creative Commons license)

Things were looking pretty grim for Nick Swisher. After slumping through April and most of May, his numbers started to resemble the ones that got him traded after the 2008 season. That earned him a seat for two straight games, but that didn’t seem to trigger positive results. In the two games that followed he went 0 for 7 with a walk, lowering his season numbers to .204/.321/.289 in 184 PA.

By that point the emails had become regular. What will the Yanks do in right field in 2011? Would the Mets trade Carlos Beltran to the Yankees? What happens after the season when the Yankees decline Swisher’s option? A large population of Yankees fans had lost faith in Swisher, despite his two straight career years in 2009 and 2010. In a way it was hard to blame them. The offense had struggled for brief stints, and Swisher’s troubles came to the fore during those periods. But in another way, it was a relatively small sampling of plate appearances. There was, and still is, plenty of time for Swisher to turn his season into a productive one.

That process just might have begun with the in-progress West Coast trip. Swisher has exactly one hit in each of the six games, but he has also averaged one walk per game, too. All in all he went 6 for 20 (.300) with six walks (.462 OBP) and three extra base hits (.650 SLG). Those numbers, even in a six-game stretch, are impressive by themselves. They become more impressive when we consider the pitching staffs he faced. The Mariners and the A’s have allowed the fewest runs of any AL team. Their pitchers rank near the bottom of the league in BA and OBP against, and they’re 13th and 14th in SLG against. Against teams that typically suppress offense, Swisher went on a tear.

As with any numbers that involve arbitrary end points, we have to be careful with what we make of Swisher’s hot week. After all, it could be just that. Yet we know what he’s capable of; we’ve seen it in the past two seasons. As Mike and I said in yesterday’s podcast, Swisher doens’t have to end the season with numbers that resemble 2009 and 2010. All he has to do is hit those marks for the rest of the season. If he does that, he’ll turn a weakness into a strength and further solidify the league’s best offense. This week might not mark a full recovery, but it sure is a good start.

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Swisher's homer gives Yankees sweep over A's
MLBTR's list of potentially available starters
  • imposter

    I won’t jump to any conclusions till I see him more consistent .

  • sangreal

    It’s gotten so bad that the NY Times has taken away his 2009 contributions as well:

    The two Athletics involved in that play — Gonzalez and Sweeney — joined the team from the White Sox in January 2008, in a deal that sent Swisher to Chicago, where he endured a miserable 2009 season

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06.....ref=sports

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Hopefully it continues. Adding some length to the lineup (especially a switch-hitter) will be a nice boost.

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      indeed….its rare when more than 3-4 hitters are clicking at the same time….its high time Swischerlicious carried the cross for a while.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Swish, Cano (.320/.370/.680 in the past 7 days), Tex (.292/.393/.667), and Jeter (.333/.452/.417) are the hot foursome right now. And ARod isn’t hitting for power, but his .320/.370/.360 helps out as well.

        • Pat D

          I’m starting to get a little concerned about ARod’s power outage.

          • Foghorn Leghorn

            who cares…Arod is hitting well, hitting plenty of doubles and driving in runs. he can still get 30 bombs, but I’d rather seem him continue to hit the way he is. the lineup has enough power in it.

            • Pat D

              Since he last hit a home run on May 21, he has exactly 1 double. And only 2 walks. He’s hitting .381 in that span, which is great, but that’s probably due to a .485 BABIP more than anything else.

              So, no, I’d rather he continue to hit home runs rather than be a singles hitter.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Patience, young padawan.

                • Pat D

                  I’m being patient. As in there’s a long home stand upcoming, so let’s get untracked there.

                  I’m asking that he mind trick me and show me that he’s not beginning the decline phase quite yet.

                  • CS Yankee

                    I would rather him get on-track than untracked.

                    Untracked sounds like the days when he was getting caught with hookers in Toronto and not being able to hit his own butt with a shovel.

                    • Pat D

                      Yea, you’re right. I haven’t worked in over a week so my brain is slightly off.

                      Not that I really use my brain at my job anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I’m enthused that he’s emerging from his coma.

    I still want to add Beltran, though, unless it costs more than a Mitchell/Phelps level pitcher and some money (and I don’t think it would).

    Deeper and thicker, baby.

    • Clay Bellinger

      That’s what she said?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
        • Clay Bellinger

          Haha, very nice. For what it’s worth, Joel Sherman agrees with ya in that Beltran wouldn’t take all that much to pry from the Mets.

      • http://Facebook.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

        That’s exactly what she said.

    • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

      Eat more money, give up a lesser prospect.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It still remains to be seen how willing Sandy Alderson is to play that game. Alderson’s smart, he’d rather have the Wilpons eat more money and get the better prospect.

        What we don’t know is whether the Wilpons are pressuring Sandy to dump as much money as possible for 2011 or to move some money off the books while upgrading the talent base for 2012.

        It’s a short term/long term thing. Trading all of the 9M of Beltran’s remaining salary and getting Pat Venditte helps more for 2011. Trading only 4M of Beltran’s remaining salary and getting David Phelps helps more for 2012-2017. Tough to say which option the Wilpons would pick.

        • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

          Word, Cotton.

  • Short Porch

    Don’t forget that Swish had a homer stolen from him during this streak as well.

    • Slugger27

      Aand was in 2 pitchers parks

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    i read something about the Bosox being in the hunt for Beltran as well b/c Drew is getting prepped for retirement and their prospects just aren’t up to snuff.

    but their farm system is weak. Reddick, Kalish, McDonald are options if you like .240 hitters.

    they’d have to trade all world Julio Iglesias

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      they’d have to trade all world Julio Iglesias

      UNPOSSIBLE

      • Foghorn Leghorn

        I hear Iglesias is going to one up Casey Kelly as he is going to be the first guy to both pitch and play SS…and, he’s so good that he can play both at the same time.

      • Esteban

        Jose Iglesias gets you Jose Bautista AND Jay Bruce in a trade. FACT.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          In the wake of Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement, the Boston Celtics have just signed Iglesias to be their starting center for the 2011-2012 NBA season. I expect Iglesias to put up a 37/19/14 and win Rookie of the Year, MVP, All Star Game MVP, Finals MVP, and Time Magazine Man of the Year.

          Despite the fact that Iglesias will play his entire career for the Celtics, the Lakers have already begun melting down the Kareem statue they were sculpting and will use the scrap bronze for Jose Iglesias’s statue in front of the Staples Center. He deserves that much respect.

          • Foghorn Leghorn

            Igelsias is also going to start the remaining games for the Bruins…while he’s never played hockey it doesn’t matter…he’s that effing good.

    • jayd808

      “prepped for retirement?” Is THAT what it is? I knew it was something…

      • Foghorn Leghorn

        its actually been a 5 year plan for drew…it all began once he signed that contract. the embalming began in March.

  • Cuso

    Yeah, everyone on YES and on WFAN wants to keep reminding us about that “almost-homer” in Seattle.

    Noone wants to actually look at the video, though. They’d recognize that ball would have hit the top of the wall and the only reason it “appeared” it “would have” been out is because Gutierrez’ momentum carried him into the wall and his glove stayed above the fence level.

    The ball wasn’t going to be gone. I’ve watched the video umpteen times.

    But everyone is desperate to say that Swish is about to bust out of it, that they give him credit for “almost-homeruns,” which it wasn’t even that.

    He got a big hit yesterday. Applaud THAT. Give him credit for THAT.

    Not for some phony bullshit that was more memorable for being a nice play by Gutierrez.

    As long as he continues drawing walks like he all-of-the-sudden-remembered-how-to-do in Seattle, then he will continue to progress.

    If he reverts back to the I’m-a-hero-every-time-I’m-up hacker routine, he will easily hit .215 for the season with less than 20 HR.

    • Esteban

      Whatever, if it’s not a homer, then it’s a double. Still counts as hitting the ball with authority against a good pitcher.

      • Foghorn Leghorn

        yeah…that guy obivously hates Nick Swisher

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      Your Swisher hate is strange and way too persistent. I mean, you totally Zaprudered the Gutierrez catch in an attempt to give him no credit at all.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Back, and to the left.
        Back, and to the left.
        Back, and to the left.
        Back, and to the left.
        Back, and to the left.

        • Pat D

          Damn you! You beat me!

      • Pat D

        Back…and to the left.

        Back…and to the left.

        Back…and to the left……

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

    if this is totally OT please feel free to move it, but Jeter’s having a pretty good road trip too. His OBP was .310 before the trip started – that’s really ugly, even in this run environment – but it’s back up to .328, which is hardly great but not so hideous. He’s hit .333/.452/.417, with a high but not unreasonable .320 BABIP. Five walks in 31 PA is nice to see at any rate, especially against some really good pitchers. There’ve even been a couple of doubles! It’s like a miracle.

    Obviously there’s a SSS caveat, but check out what Jeter’s done at home and on the road this year –
    home .228/.300/.246 (.250 BABIP)
    road .304/.357/.422 (.330 BABIP)

    I guess the overall point is, it’s good to see guys contributing who haven’t really all year. Maybe Jorge will join the party? Some day?

    • CS Yankee

      Shall we start the “Jeter can’t handle the pressure in NYC” narrative?

      /Johnsonpavanoetall’d