• Swisher Sits Again

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2011 · Comments (6)

    Via mlb.com

    In his final swing of batting practice, Nick Swisher hit a popup into the roof of the batting cage. After dejectedly tossing away his bat, he went to gather the loose balls strewn over the field. Then he got ready to rest for the second straight day.

    Swisher, who had started 41 of the Yankees’ first 44 games, sat out Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays. Chris Dickerson started in his place in right field.

    For manager Joe Girardi, Swisher’s struggles — especially from the left side of the plate — triggered the decision to give the right fielder an extended rest.

    “His left-handed swing has been a struggle,” Girardi said of the switch-hitter. “I figured it would be a good time to give him a couple of days to just take a deep breath. He’s important to us.”

    Swisher is hitting .214 with a .330 on-base percentage and two home runs in 176 plate appearances. As a left-handed batter, those numbers drop to .170 with a .305 OBP, though both homers have come from that side of the plate.

    “I don’t know, I’m not really a numbers guy,” Swisher said. “I don’t really check it out. Obviously, left-handed I don’t know if I’m doing that well. But hey, so what? I know I can hit left-handed, I’ve done it, I’ve proved it year in and year out. So I’m not really worried about it.”

    For his career, Swisher is a .251 hitter with a .356 OBP, but his power has been glaringly absent this season. The owner of a lifetime .462 slugging percentage, he has posted a .303 mark this season.

    With Swisher, I always think back to those reports when he was with the A’s – about him spending $1,000 on vodka at a club in New York in 2006.  The dude is a party animal.  I wonder if this has anything to do with his performance this year?  Then again, he was just fine in 2009 and 2010.  So, it would seem strange if it’s suddenly an issue now.

    Comments on Swisher Sits Again

    1. Raf
      May 23rd, 2011 | 9:59 pm

      He’s a married man now, that may have something to do with his performance 😉

      BTW, he had a partner in crime in Joe Blanton. Two guys spending a grand on vodka really isn’t that big a deal; that’s a couple of bottles of grey goose (maybe 20 drinks a bottle). I doubt that they’d be drinking alone, so let’s say they’re part of a group of 10; teammates, groupies, hangers on, etc.

      40 drinks divided by 10 people? 4 drinks a person. That’s not a whole lot.

    2. Evan3457
      May 23rd, 2011 | 10:42 pm

      I have no idea why Swisher is struggling so bad.

      It’s possible that, as a player with “old player’s skills”, he’s declining prematurely. He did turn 30 this off-season.

      It’s considerably more likely that this is an extended slump, just as he had for 2 1/2 months in 2009 (from about the beginning of May through mid-July). He eventually came out of that one, and it’s likely he’ll come out of this one.

    3. MJ Recanati
      May 24th, 2011 | 6:08 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      It’s possible that, as a player with “old player’s skills”, he’s declining prematurely. He did turn 30 this off-season.

      I’m not sure I agree that he has “old player’s skills.” While not fast in terms of stolen bases, he does have athleticism that other guys with that moniker (Adam Dunn, Jim Thome, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder) don’t have.

      He may not come out of his slump but the underlying metrics do suggest that he’s been suffering from some of the worst luck in baseball this year. I’m not sure I see age as a factor here.

    4. May 24th, 2011 | 12:47 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      he’s been suffering from some of the worst luck in baseball this year.

      How so?

      Rk              Player BAbip  PA Year Age  G   BA  OBP  SLG
      1         Jorge Posada  .186 146 2011  39 38 .176 .295 .352
      2        Mark Teixeira  .244 202 2011  31 45 .249 .361 .509
      3    Curtis Granderson  .257 196 2011  30 46 .260 .335 .607
      4         Nick Swisher  .264 176 2011  30 42 .214 .330 .303
      5       Russell Martin  .265 154 2011  28 40 .263 .364 .489
      6        Robinson Cano  .277 190 2011  28 45 .274 .316 .486
      7          Derek Jeter  .288 206 2011  37 44 .261 .311 .324
      8       Alex Rodriguez  .314 181 2011  35 42 .289 .365 .516
      9        Brett Gardner  .343 156 2011  27 45 .274 .344 .422
    5. Raf
      May 24th, 2011 | 1:05 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      He was due to come back to earth from a BABIP standpoint (last year was a career high .335).

      LD%: 24 (19 career)
      GB%: 35 (36)
      FB%: 41 (45)
      BB%: 14 (13)
      K%: 26 (25)

      For the most part, Swisher’s hitting at his career levels, save for more line drives, and a little less fly balls. He’s walking and striking out more or less at his career rate.

    6. MJ Recanati
      May 24th, 2011 | 2:17 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      BABIP isn’t the only measure of luck and, more to the point, there’s no point in comparing one player’s BABIP with another since it is the batted ball data which gives BABIP its meaning. Given his underlying metrics which Raf pointed out in the comment below yours, it appears that Swisher’s batted ball data hasn’t changed much from last year and thus the lower BABIP would indicat lousy luck.

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