Nick Swisher Bats Fourth For Yankees: Worth a Fantasy Baseball Pickup?

Forrest KobayashiSenior Analyst IApril 18, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 14:  Nick Swisher #33 of the New York Yankees celebrates a victory against the Tampa Bay Rays April 14, 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Nick Swisher started today’s game for the Yankees, batting in the four-slot behind star slugger Mark Teixeira.  With Xavier Nady out, Swisher steps into a full-time role in the outfield for the Yankees.  Is he a worthwhile fantasy pickup for owners in need of hitting?

Swisher is an interesting player, to say the least.  He started out with the Oakland Athletics, and you may have remembered him being profiled in Moneyball.  He is a high on base percentage guy, but his batting average has historically been low.

Looking at Swisher from a pure 5×5 rotisserie standpoint, this guy has a decent bat.  The power is undeniable—he has hit more than 21 home runs every year since 2005.  For 2009, if he can accumulate the at-bats in prime spots in the Yankee lineup, this guy has the ability to hit 25 home runs, which is great if you are in need of power.

Hitting in the middle of the order should produce great run and RBI numbers for Swisher, so if you are in need of either of these categories, he will also be able to help you.

One thing you need to consider when looking at Swisher is that he does not make great contact.  His bat contact rate has either been 73 percent or 76 percent the past four seasons—not very good numbers for maintaining a batting average. 

Swisher will probably hit for a batting average anywhere from .240-.260, considering that he does not always make constant contact.  Also because of this, Swisher is prone to going into major hot and cold streaks—making him a risky choice if you are in a head-to-head format.

All in all, Swisher seems to be a hot pickup at this point in time.  As a fantasy owner, you should only consider Swisher as a long-term option if you are in a mid-to-deep sized Roto or AL-only league.

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