With last week’s heatwave in the New York City area, Nick Swisher’s play started to warm up as well. Swisher is 13-for-31 (.419) with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last nine games – he picked up career hit 1,000 on saturday against the Mets. He’s picking a good time to get things going. This is a very important year for Swisher, as the 31 year-old outfielder will be a free agent at seasons end – his return to the New York in question. Coming into this year, Swisher received a lot of criticism due in part to his performance in the playoffs last year and how he couldn’t hit in the clutch. It seems as if Swish has changed his game a bit this year by becoming more aggressive.
Swisher is usually near, or at the top of the walks list in baseball. Last year, he was seventh in the majors with 95 walks. This year however, Swish is ranked 91st with just 23 free passes. OBP is something that has always been associated with Swish. Last year he was ranked 21st with an OBP of .374, this year he is 80th at .335. What that tells me is that he is swinging at more pitches, being more aggressive, and hoping to produce more. If the numbers are any indication, he has produced more in 2012.
Swisher has 45 RBI already through 63 games (had 85 all of last year in 150 games) which just so happens to lead the Yankees. His 20 doubles are good for second on the team, behind Robinson Cano (21). As the season enters July and the pennant race really heats up, look for Swisher to become a more vital cog in the Yankees lineup. This is a contract year for Swish, so he wants to perform at an optimal level. His aggressiveness this year and approach at the plate are signs of that, in my opinion.
As he approaches age 32, it will be interesting to see if the Yankees decide to give him the contract he is looking for. Swisher’s last three years in pinstripes have arguably been the best of his career. There is no doubt Swish is an important piece in the clubhouse and one of the most liked Yankees in recent memory. If he continues on the current streak he’s on, the Yankees won’t be able to ignore him in the offseason.