Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees: Reverting to Form?

Harold FriendChief Writer IMay 27, 2011

Nick Swisher
Nick SwisherAl Bello/Getty Images

Nick Swisher might be having a season that rivals his 2008 season when he was with the Chicago White Sox.

With the White Sox, Swisher batted .219, hit 24 home runs, had a .332 on base average, and slugged .410.

After the first two months (almost) this season, Swisher is hitting .204 with two home runs, a .321 on base average, and a bizarre .289 slugging average.

Swisher played a major role during the New York Yankees 27th championship season in 2009. He batted only .249 but hit 29 home runs and slugged .498. He reverted to his previous form in the playoffs and World Series when his best batting average was a mere .150 in the second round against the Anaheim Angels.

Last season Swisher batted .288, again hit 29 home runs, and slugged .511. It was his best season ever.

It is possible that last season was Swisher's "career year?".

At the age of 30, he should be at his peak and have at least two or three similar seasons.

A little less than a week ago, Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to give Swisher two days off to work on his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long. He returned to the lineup for the final two games against the Toronto Blue Jays and went hit-less in seven at-bats.

Swisher is not alone as a struggling star.

Albert Pujols, the best hitter in the game, is batting only .261 with eight home runs.

Jason Werth is at .254 with eight home runs.

Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .251 with eight home runs.

Hanley Ramirez is batting .211 with four home runs.

It is not being claimed that Swisher is in the same class as a hitter as the above players, but the fact is that after two months of the season, some of the better hitters in the game that are struggling illustrates that even the best may suffer from a prolonged slump.

Pitching has dominated hitting this season, much as it did last year, but Swisher's decline has been precipitous.

What if Swisher is reverting to form?

From his first full season in 2005 with the Oakland A's through his 2009 season with the Yankees, Swisher batted .245 with a .357 on base average, and has slugged .461. He's averaged 26 home runs, which makes his two home runs this year a concern.

It's one thing when a player with good home run power slumps, but in many cases, there is not an almost complete loss of power, as is the case with Swisher. His on base average is higher than his slugging average.

The Yankees are a team built on offense. They cannot have their regular right fielder not contribute.

Center fielder Curtis Granderson has regained his stroke, as evidenced by his 16 home runs. Left fielder Brett Gardner is not a power hitter, but he actually has hit one more home run than Swisher.

Andruw Jones, who once hit 51 home runs in a single season for the Atlanta Braves, recently hit a pair of home runs in one game. The clamoring is starting for him to play much more often.

If Swisher doesn't start producing soon, that may happen.

References:

Baseball Reference

Bronx Baseball Daily

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