After starting the season in a miserable slump, Nick Swisher ended Sunday’s game batting a respectable .245/.366/.412. While that is far from where many had hoped he would be after nearly half the season, entering Sunday’s game that line translated to a 109 OPS+ and a .342 wOBA. Neither stat is as solid as what Swisher posted last season, but he’s not far from his career numbers of 116 and .356, respectively.
Swisher’s troubles have been due entirely to his lefthanded swing. Entering Sunday’s game he was a .429 righthanded wOBA hitter but only a .307 wOBA hitter lefthanded. He’s been on fire in June, posting a .446 wOBA overall. That means that his lefthanded numbers were worse than a .307 wOBA (which is not good) in April and May.
Moving deeper into his lefthanded swing, it is actually difficult to see what had been bothering Nick earlier in the season and what has changed now. Luck has certainly played a part in it. For his career Swisher has a .283 BABIP lefthanded. Even after his recent success, Nick’s lefthanded BABIP remains only .230 entering Sunday’s game. That’s considerably below his career performance, but it is not so far off pace to explain his entire slow start.
Many of his other lefthanded metrics actually look favorable in 2011. He’s got a career lefthanded walk rate of 11.8%, which is up to 15.9% this season, while his strikeouts are down. For his career his K rate is 27.4% as a lefty but has been only 24.4% this year. As a result, Nick has manged to keep his OBP at a respectable level, both overall and from the left side this season, despite his struggles. His lefty OBP was .330 entering Sunday’s game, which is subpar for a hitter as good at getting on base as Swisher, but respectable overall.
Apart from the slightly reduced lefthanded BABIP, the real culprit that harmed Nick’s April and May was his total lack of lefthanded power. For his career Swisher has a .473 lefthanded SLG, which is better than his righthanded .446 SLG. This season, however, Swisher has a lefty SLG of just .339 versus a righty SLG of .548. Reinforcing this lack of power is his lefthanded home run to fly ball ratio. At 9.1% this season, it is down dramatically from his career rate of 15.8%.
What emerges from this picture is a hitter who kept his plate discipline, but wasn’t able to make left-handed contact as strong as he normally did. His line drive and ground ball rates were all roughly in line with his lefthanded career rates, but more of his hits were dying somewhere in the outfield, when in season’s past many of those flies would have carried for home runs. This would naturally drive down his BABIP and his SLG. But in the absence of an observable, large change, such as a spike in strike out rate or an out sized decrease in BABIP, it was a safe bet that Nick would be able to work through his kinks.
Luckily for the Yankees, it looks like Swisher has turned the corner. When you consider that his wOBA was .295 through the end of May, it is phenomenal that he’s gotten his overall wOBA all the way up to .342 by now. Swisher has pulled it off because he has been one of the best hitters in the game in June. Obviously his current explosion is unsustainable, but even if Swisher settles into his career rates for the remainder of the season he’ll finish the year with something close a .350 wOBA and a 112 OPS+, both of which represent down but productive seasons. More importantly for Swisher and the Yankees, if he has put his troubles behind him for good he’ll be able to help the team in the second half, when the playoff race promises to get interesting.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
- Dorothy Silvan on Pineda’s Torn Labrum, or Does the lemon law apply to baseball?
- tao of badass on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- tube launch review on Why Has Attendance Fallen Year-To-Year?
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees