Anybody seen Nick Swisher? Anybody? Swisher, once a highly coveted player, former first round pick, and on-base machine, has pulled a disappearing act here in the 2014 season. As of late, the former Oakland draft pick has been showing signs of life, with 17 hits in July. Nothing spectacular, but a pulse. A large improvement from 6 hits in June. Also in July, Swisher has left the yard 3 times since July 7th, while he only went big fly 5 times between March 31st through July 6th.
But what has happened to the former All-Star? For his career, Swisher holds a .354 OBP which currently ranks 41st of all active MLB players. In 2014, the “On base machine’s” OBP is just .289. Why oh why! Where did you go Swish!?! Swish’s K% is astronomically higher than at any other point in his career at 27%, his next highest K% was his one-year stint in Chicago in 2008, where he sat at 23%. To make matters worse, Swisher has just a 10% BB%, the second-lowest of his career. What’s going on? Is Swish unlucky? Regressing?
Well, could Swisher really regress this quickly? He has posted a career-low wRC of 82 this season, 11 lower than his tough year in 2008. On top of that, Swisher has been worse than a replacement level player with a WAR of -0.9. The lowest WAR Swisher has ever put out was also in ’08, when he posted a +1.2. According to BABIP, which doesn’t predict any future, it does show that Swisher has been slightly unlucky this season, no luck dragons. Swisher’s BABIP is .273. Only in 08′ and 09′ was he worse.
But there is hope! For the love of Swisher there is hope. Nick Swisher’s career shows that he is exponentially better than he has been this season, and shouldn’t regress this quickly at 33 years old. Both ZiPS and Steamer projections show the remainder of the season being a decent turnaround for Swisher, nothing insane, but a lifeline. With Swisher’s last eight games, it seems even more realistic that the turnaround will happen. According to ZiPS, over the last 54 games Swisher’s K% will lower 3.5%, his BB% will increase by 1.6%, and his OPS will be .720, an upgrade from the first 79 games and .641 output.
So while near and far people have been turning over rocks, looking under bridges and putting his face on milk cartons, Nick Swisher may be found! Things were pretty dark there for a while, but there is hope and when Swisher turns things back around, we can all let out a sigh of relief because all will be right in the world again.