A running argument that I have had with some less stat-inclined Yankees fans is about the value of Nick Swisher. I just read this bit on Swisher from Steve Goldman, and thought it summed things up perfectly:
Swisher does NOT play awful defense. He plays incredibly UGLY defense, but he’s actually quite a good defender. His UZR/150 is above average as is his range factor per game. Don’t confuse ungraceful and lumbering for bad.
To which I, your humble servant, will add that there’s not a lot that’s pretty in Swisher’s game, but he’s a productive player and one the Yankees can’t afford to take out of the lineup. Even when his bat went on vacation in May, he still drew 19 walks, making for a .311 on-base percentage despite a .150 batting average. This month he’s hitting .267/.397/.500. You show me a team that benches a guy with those rates and I’ll show you a team that needs its head examined Stir Crazy dvd . Swisher has faults, and when a team is not playing well, those faults — the strikeouts, sub-Speaker agility in the outfield, become exaggerated. This happens to every team in a bad place — the urge to punish someone strong, and it frequently seizes on the wrong player. Swisher has been productive against both lefties and righties, has hit well by any reasonable standard, and has left something to be desired only at Yankee Stadium II, where, despite his struggles, he has posted a .373 on-base percentage. He’s part of the solution, not the problem…
Exactly. From all the outfielders, Swisher should lose the least playing time upon the return of Xavier Nady. Nady can play for either Matsui or Damon against lefties, and spell Swish once a week. Other than that, the Yankees need Swisher’s bat in the lineup.
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