Now you’ve done it. You’ve really done it. Just when I thought Yankee fans couldn’t get any battier, they want to run Nick Swisher — one of the most productive right-fielders in the league, not to mention one of the Yankees’ top on-base threats — out of town, because of some unfortunately poor showings in three random samplings.
Never mind that were one to construct the ideal Yankee hitter from the ground up, Swisher ostensibly represents the perfect blueprint, leading the team in OBP in 2011, with a .374 mark despite starting the season in a horrid slump; notching the best BB%, at 15% — a massive jump from 2010′s 9.1%; and finishing 11th in the AL in pitches per plate appearance (20th in 2010 and 2nd in the league in 2009).
Though his power numbers took a slight dip this season he also has 30-home-run power, and has been a solid .370 wOBA player during his three seasons on the team. I bet you didn’t know that Swisher’s .370 three-year wOBA ties him with Dustin Pedroia for 12th-most productive player in the American League since 2009. “Who cares?” the irrational fan scoffs. “He isn’t clutch in the postseason!”
Yes that’s partially true, you’d say. Swish hasn’t exactly been a stellar performer in the playoffs. But there’s also a decent chance that the Yankees don’t get there in each of the last three seasons without the 11 wins above replacement he’s been worth these last three seasons.
Additionally, outside of Jose Bautista, there really hasn’t been a better right-fielder in the American League than Swish both this season and the past two years. The following is a chart of the three-year wOBAs of players that have played the majority of their games in RF in two of the last three seasons:
Though Ben Zobrist put up a slightly higher wOBA than Swish this season, Zorilla only spent about 30 games in right, so technically I’m discounting him from “best right fielders in 2011.”
Here are those same players’ corresponding wRC+es:
Yup, Swish is still second-best.
Not only has Swish been a fantastically productive right-fielder, he’s also been an absolute steal:
Since 2009, Nick Swisher has been paid $21.2 million for his services by the Yankees. Per Fangraphs, he’s been worth more than double that amount — $47.6 million, and his $17 million of value in 2011 was a career-high, even with a down offensive year.
But, y’know, let’s not pick up his $10.25 million option based on 114 plate appearances spread across three Octobers. Even if Swish regressed to a 3.0-win player, he’d still be worth nearly $15 million. So the next time you suggest something asinine like cutting Nick Swisher loose, try to find me both a better and cheaper option first.
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