Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher via twitter:
Wow! What a crazy few weeks.
Cleveland! Are you ready? Because
I'm coming home! Roll Tribe
Cleveland has agreed to sign free agent outfielder and Ohio State alumni, Nick Swisher. With the signing, what are the Indians getting offensively and how will Progressive Field affect his offense as a switch hitter?

To begin, lets look at his career. Over the last eight (9-year career) seasons, Swisher has been a model of consistency. Since 2005, Swisher is one of only sixteen outfielders to have at least 4,500 plate appearances. Of those sixteen players, he has the eighth highest slugging percentage and the fifth best on-base percentage.  Using wRC+, which is park and league adjusted, Swisher was 20% better than the league average in that time period.

Furthermore, over the last four seasons – his prime years – Swisher posted a .367 on-base percentage and a .483 slugging percentage with the Yankees. Those numbers, however, will likely begin to trend downward now, as he is now on the down side (age 32-35) of his career, and will no longer be playing half of his games in an offensive friendly park.

Contrary to most right-handed batters, though, Swisher should not be affected a great deal by Progressive Field and it’s history of suppressing homers for right-handed batters. Why? Because most of Swisher’s power comes from the left side, which plays to the park’s strengths, according to Stat Corner’s Park Factors.

While I do believe he will regress toward the end of this deal, most of his power should only decline minimally from the left side and with most of the regression coming from aging. Going back to his Oakland Athletic days, he still remained as one of the better offensive outfielders in the game in one of the more pitcher friendly parks in baseball. If he can hit 17 homers (2006) and post a .477 slugging percentage in Oakland, he can hit anywhere.