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Entries in New York Yankees (126)

Wednesday
Jan022013

Swisher Has Multiple Personalities at the Plate

In Nick Swisher, the Cleveland Indians signed one of the game's better blends of patience and power. The former Ohio State Buckeye, signed to a four-year, $56 million deal in December, ranks in the top ten among outfielders in on-base percentage (.366) and places in the top twenty in slugging (.478) and OPS+ (125) since the beginning of the 2010 season. The switch-hitting Swisher is a threat from both sides of the plate, posting a near-identical OPS from the left side (.830) and the right (.834), but his approach couldn't be more different. Swish is a pure slugger as a lefty, swinging freely and posting lofty power and punchout totals. He's a doubles hitters as a righty, but his more patient and contact-oriented style  makes him an on-base machine.

Here's a look at Swisher's swing rate by pitch location from both sides of the plate over the past three seasons. He's much more aggressive as a lefty batter, taking a cut at about 69% of pitches thrown over the plate (57% as a righty) and chasing about a quarter of pitches thrown outside of the strike zone (16% as a righty). Swinging more frequently from the left side, Swisher has drawn a walk in 10.5% of his plate appearances. As a righty, he has walked 15.4% of the time.

        Swisher as a LHB, 2010-12                  Swisher as a RHB, 2010-12

 

 

Swisher's lefty swing puts more pitches in the cheap seats (more on that in a moment), but it also leads to more whiffs. He has a 26% miss rate as a lefty hitter, compared to 15% as a righty. Not surprisingly, Swisher's K rate is far higher as a lefty (24.7%) than as a righty (14.9%).

         Swisher as a LHB, 2010-12                  Swisher as a RHB, 2010-12

    

 

When Swisher does make contact, though, it's louder from the left side. He slugged .495 as a lefty from 2010-12, going deep about 18% of the time that he hit a fly ball. Swisher slugged .443 and had a home run per fly ball rate of under 9% as a righty. 

          Swisher as LHB, 2010-12                       Swisher as RHB, 2010-12

 

Swisher has been more valuable as a righty hitter overall, with his huge on-base advantage from that side (.411 OBP as a righty, .343 as a lefty) outweighing his slugging feats as a lefty. While Progressive Field doesn't boost home run totals near as much as Yankee Stadium, Swisher's multiple personalities at the dish appear well-suited for his new home. According to StatCorner, Progressive Field increases home runs for left-handed hitters by 21% and decreases them by 26% for right-handed hitters. Swisher can let er' rip as a lefty, taking aim at the nine-foot tall fences in center and right field, and draw bushels of walks as a righty, knowing that the 19-foot "Little Green Monster" in left field puts a serious crimp on power numbers.

Wednesday
Dec052012

Yankees looking at Mark Reynolds and here's what they'll see

The Yankees need a third baseman at a price they are willing to pay which is why Mark Reynolds is getting their attention.

But while Reynolds does hit homers, 181 in his career including 23 this past season, he strikes out...a lot.

Here are the locations of Reynolds 159 2012 strikeouts

And if it seems as if he's chasing a lot of pitches, you are correct.

 Since 2008, Reynolds has hit .277 at Yankee Stadium

But in 151 plate appearances in New York, he has 20 walks and 49 whiffs.

But the Yankees need to replace homers and they need an affordable option, but these strikeout figures don't even address Reynolds iron glove.

Friday
Nov302012

Why the Yankees need to sign A.J. Pierzynski

I can understand why Yankee fans would be wary to sign anyone who goes by the name "A.J." but the ancient New Yorkers need to add the soon-to-be 36-year old A.J. Pierzynski as their catcher for the next couple of seasons.

Here are some reasons...

Let's start with the fact Pierzynski is a horse. Since 2001, Yadier Molina has caught over 100 games eight times, second among active catchers only to A.J. who has done it for 12 consecutive seasons.

Over the last five seasons, A.J.'s hit .283, only Yaddy at .296 has a better average.

A.J. in his career has thrown out 24% of the baserunners attempting to steal compared to the league average of 28%. This past season, he threw out 26% compared to 25% for the league.

Over the last five seasons, Pierzynski's pitchers had ERAs of 4.17, 4.08, 3.95, 4.04, and last season 4.06. Over the last five seasons, Martin's pitchers had ERAs of 3.63, 3.36, 4.04, 3.70, and last season 4.03, so the Yanks probably will take a bit of hit in that area.

But here's why the Yanks need to sign Pierzynski and he will be a huge step-up over Martin: Martin is righty and A.J. has a left-handed swing made for the Yankee Stadium short right field porch and jetstream.

Take a look at the location of Pierzynski's 2012 hits

Of Pierzynski's 27 homers, 23 were to right and right center

Here are the fly balls and liners that Pierzynski pulled for outs last season

Reportedly, Pierzynski's clubhouse presence is "interesting," to say the least. In an article in ESPN, The Magazine, Tim Keown wrote that the catcher loves to win, a characteristic admired in Derek Jeter's clubhouse.

"I don't know what people expect me to be like," he says. "I think the media can decide you're either a bad guy or a good guy, and they can keep pounding it until everyone thinks it's true. I get tired of the crap. Every day you read the newspaper, you have to hope that somebody didn't say something or write something that'll make you have to defend yourself."

Pierzynski is a good-natured bad boy, more mischievous than mean. He consistently worries that his mother, Mary Jane, a loyal subscriber to Google Alerts, will be calling to ask him, yet again, to explain himself. He needles teammates and annoys opponents, and he does it with a sideways grin and a tongue-in-cheek manner that doesn't always translate well into baseball's militant code of ethics. And although he's had problems with teammates in the past, his personality seems to get more appealing the closer you get to it.

Or, in the inimitable words of Ozzie Guillen, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."

A.J. seems like a good fit for the Yankees and a great fit for the back pages of the New York tabloids.

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