by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Nick Swisher is hardly a sexy player, but he generally provides value as a cheaper source of power. In this day and age, when power is at a premium, that can’t be taken lightly. However he endured a miserable 2014 campaign as he posted the following line:
360 At Bats
.208 Batting Average (75 Hits)
8 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.278 On Base Percentage
.331 Slugging Percentage
.273 Batting Average on Balls in Play
One of the biggest advantages Swisher has always had is his consistency. From 2006-2013 the fewest games he played in was 145, posting at least 22 HR a year (he also hit 21 HR in 131 games back in 2005) in the process. Not only is he coming off his first abridged season, Swisher required surgery on both of his knees. You have to think that had a significant impact on his production.
There was a noticeable drop in his HR/FB last season, falling to 8.3%. The owner of a career mark of 14.4%, this was likely due to an inability to generate much power due to his legs. Assuming he can come back healthy, and all indications are that he will, getting back close to 20 HR should be a given.
You also have to wonder how much his knee issues factored into his increased strikeout rate, which jumped to 27.7%. He was chasing more pitches (27.2% O-Swing%) and missing more often (10.9% SwStr%), likely trying to press as he struggled to hit for power.
None of this is to say that Swisher is going to be a great player next season. He owns a .251 career average, after all, and isn’t a source of stolen bases. However, a healthy Swisher provides a potentially powerful bat in the later rounds of your draft. That’s something that shouldn’t be undervalued.
While the rest of your league ignores him, given his age and struggles in 2014, he’s well worth the gamble. At worst he struggles early and you move on. At best? You catch the always streaky hitter and cash in early, finding home runs that could make a major difference.
What do you really have to lose?
Source – Fangraphs
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