Grading the Yankees: Nick Swisher
I know a lot of Yankee fans despise Nick Swisher; if not for his outgoing personality than for his shortcomings in the postseason. Let me just say that I am not one of those people, and I will try to grade him as objectively as possible.
Check out the grades Russell Martin and Derek Jeter received in previous Grading the Yankees posts.
Glove tastes yummy.(Image: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)
Let’s start off with his offensive production. Swish Dog put up a .272/.364/.473/.837 slash line (each slash better than his career mark) with 24 homers and 93 RBI in 148 games this season. His .363 wOBA was the second best of all qualified right fielders in baseball (trailing only Ben Zobrist) and his 128 wRC+ was fourth best, and he boasted a 3.9 WAR (all according to FanGraphs). Not too shabby. However, he did strikeout a lot (22.6 K%) although his 126 OPS+ trailed only Robinson Cano on the Yanks.
His righty numbers were nothing to scoff at, but he did the majority of his damage while hitting lefty. Plus, he actually hit for a little more power on the road than he did at home, which, I guess, is good because we can’t blame everything on OMG TEH BANDBOX!!!1!!!1!! Also, he was absolutely raking with RISP this season.
As for his defense, UZR says Swish played between an average and above average right field (2.7) and about an average first base (.9) this season. Everyone knows UZR is dumb, but that seems about right. I may rank his RF defense closer to above average (5) and his 1B defense closer to 1.5/2 via the ol’ eye test, but let’s not split hairs. We all get the picture: he’s an above average, versatile fielder.
With regards to Nicholas’ aforementioned postseason shortcomings, nobody is going to write home about a guy who hit .167/.235/.233 with 10 K to 3 BB and two RBI in eight playoff games. You can chalk that up to small sample size or whatever, but his career postseason numbers with the Yankees aren’t much better: .162/.252/.308 with 38 K to 15 BB and four homers and seven RBI in 36 games. (Not to mention his career postseason numbers overall.)
HOWEVAH, another former Yankee struggled with the postseason in his first few years with the team. This gentleman hit .188/.301/.292 with 22 K to 13 BB and one homer and five RBI in 29 games (26 starts) before belting the go-ahead grand slam in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series. Yes, Tino Martinez played like garbage in the postseason before absolutely raking in the ’98 Fall Classic. Imagine taking over for a Yankee icon and then playing like dirt your first few postseasons with the team. Had the blogosphere and Twitter been around back then it would’ve been ugly for Tino.
Not trying to compare the two players, only pointing out that maybe we shouldn’t throw out Swisher with the proverbial bathwater. If the Yanks had taken that approach with Tino, who knows if the dynasty would have panned out.
B+ (He’s lucky I didn’t take the postseason into account)
- Has positive attitude toward work
- Hard worker, but not working to full potential (in the postseason)
- Some classmates think he’s phony
- Caught him dipping during class on multiple occasions
- Is easily distracted (by fans)
- Broke Derek Jeter‘s ankle [just kidding]
He’s been one of the most productive players during his tenure in the Bronx, and I hope the Yanks bring him back. However, if he is indeed looking for Jayson Werth (seven years/$126 million range) money he can take a hike. I love Swisher but he’s not “werth” $18 million per year. Let the Mets give him a stupid contract like that; actually that may be the best thing for him because then he wouldn’t have to worry about playing in the postseason.