Mike at RAB has a nice read out regarding the power of the Yankee offense. To open the article, he puts forth an offensive comparison between Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher, one that is totally valid and very interesting. In fact, from a statistical standpoint, you’d be surprised at how close the two are, offensively.
However, Mike then offers the following comment regarding defense.
Now, by no means am I saying Swish is as good as Tex. Tex provides far more defensive value than Swish ever will, but offensively, the two have provided nearly identical output over the last 80 games.
Now, does Teixeira truly provide more defensive value than Swisher does? I actually think that Swisher is a more valuable commodity in terms of his fielding capabilities. When you think about it, an average first baseman—that’s what Tex is, according to defensive metrics—isn’t as valuable as an above average right fielder, which Swisher has been this season.
There is some complexity here, though. Teixeira does offer some intangible attributes, particularly in terms of his defensive reputation. Because he is known as a good defender, he actually helps the infield feel comfortable when making plays to first. That makes the infield a better defensive unit. However, Swisher can also play left field and first base (he’s not particularly good at either position, but he’s not bad by any means). That positional flexibility makes Swisher, I think, a lot more valuable as a defender.
It’s definitely an interesting argument. Compared to Swisher, Teixeira is a better offensive weapon (although, as Mike notes, it’s closer than you would think), however, in terms of defensive value, I think you have to give that to Swisher. What do you think?
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