Nick Swisher had an up and down season in 2011. It ended up fine for him, as he produced a 122 wRC+ on the strength of a .358 wOBA, one point better than his career mark of .357. It was, however, down from 2009 (.375) and 2010 (.377). The biggest difference for Swisher in 2011 was his power. After two straight .200+ IsoP, Swisher’s dropped to a (still very respectable) .188. Why was his power down?
Despite a career high LD% of 21.8%, indicating that he hit the ball pretty hard, Swisher’s Iso was a career low. His HR/FB% (14.3%) was just a bit off his career mark of 14.9%, yet his AB/HR was about 23 (about 20 in 2010; about 17 in 2009). The answer is that Swish was simply hitting fewer fly balls this year. Swisher’s rate of doubles in 2011 (5.7%) was right near his career mark (5.8%) so only Swisher’s home runs were affected by his drop in fly balls (yes, that’s a rather obvious statement, isn’t it?).
As 2012 goes forward, we’re going to have to keep an eye on Nick Swisher’s fly ball rates. If they creep back up, we’ll see Swish’s HR total sneak back up which is great for the team and great for Swisher.
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