Season in Review: Nick Swisher

A few weeks ago, I chronicled the great deal that brought Nick Swisher to the Yankees. Now that the season is over, let’s look back at the 2009 season for Swish and see how it arrived at where it did.


The Captain was here.

Overall, Swish has hit .249/.371/.498/.869/126+ for the Yankees with 29 home runs and 82 driven in across 607 PA (498 AB) in 150 games. His 97 walks were good for second in the American League, Swisher’s only appearance on the A.L. leaderboard. Swisher’s .869 OPS was a career high, as was his .375 wOBA and his 23.5 wRAA.

While Swisher’s batting average of .249 was below the A.L. RF average BA of .278, his OBP, SLG, and OPS were above the league average by 18, 48, and 66 points respectively. Nick’s 82 runs batted in through 602 plate appearances was better than the “league average” with that many PAs, which was 68.

These numbers are available on player’s gamelogs pages on Baseball Reference. Though Swisher had many more runners on (392) compared to what the average player (379) would expect in 602 PAs, Swisher drove in a higher percentage of runners, 20.92, than the average player would (17.94%). On defense, playing 130 games in right, Swisher put up a 1.3 UZR/150, so he was a tick above average there, though he did not make it look pretty.

Swisher got off to a hot start in April, hitting .312/.430/.714/1.144, before plummeting in May when he hit .150/.311/.275/.586. He rebounded in June, was average in July, good in August, and great in September/October, when he hit .253/.377/.588/.935 with seven homers.

In the first half, Swisher hit .237/.360/.464/.824 with 14 homers and 47 RBI in 335 PAs and 274 ABs. Nick finished the season strong, hitting .263/.384/.540/.924 with 15 homers and 35 RBI in 272 PAs and 224 ABs.

One of the biggest deals with Swisher this year was his ridiculous home/away splits that defied all logic. On the road, Swisher belted 21 homers while hitting only 8 at home. He picked it up a bit, hitting a few more homers at home recently–including a walk off–but his home numbers are generally a lot better than his away numbers:

Home: .226/.382/.394/.776
Away: 268/.361/.585/.945

As we can see, Swisher’s approach was really no different at home as it normally is. His .382 OBP with a .226 BA at home speaks volumes about Swisher’s patience and discipline at the plate. The .394 SLG is troubling, but the .168 IsoP and aforementioned .156 IsoD point to positive signs.

Swisher also pitched in on the mound. In an ugly 15-5 loss to the Rays early in the season, Swisher pitched a scoreless inning, walking one, allowing one hit, and striking out one.

Regardless of the home/road splits, regardless of the “adventures” in right field, Nick Swisher had a great season any way you cut it. On the field, Nick contributed 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, which is a performance valued at $17.3MM. The Yankees are paying Nick $5.3MM this season. The Bronx Bombers got an incredible value out of Swisher this year.

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