Aug 30, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher (33) hits a double sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Swisher: 2014 Player Profile

Nick Swisher is Ready to Bounce Back in 2014

Nick Swisher Basic Information:

• DOB: 11/25/1980
• Bats/Throws: Switch/L
• Height/Weight: 6’0” 200
• Position: First Base/DH/Outfield
• Contract: Signed a 4 year $56-Million contract in 2013. Set to make $15-million in 2014.

Career Stats:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2004 23 OAK 20 71 60 11 15 4 0 2 8 8 11 .250 .352 .417 .769 101
2005 24 OAK 131 522 462 66 109 32 1 21 74 55 110 .236 .322 .446 .768 102
2006 25 OAK 157 672 556 106 141 24 2 35 95 97 152 .254 .372 .493 .864 125
2007 26 OAK 150 659 539 84 141 36 1 22 78 100 131 .262 .381 .455 .836 126
2008 27 CHW 153 588 497 86 109 21 1 24 69 82 135 .219 .332 .410 .743 93
2009 28 NYY 150 607 498 84 124 35 1 29 82 97 126 .249 .371 .498 .869 122
2010 29 NYY 150 635 566 91 163 33 3 29 89 58 139 .288 .359 .511 .870 129
2011 30 NYY 150 635 526 81 137 30 0 23 85 95 125 .260 .374 .449 .822 120
2012 31 NYY 148 624 537 75 146 36 0 24 93 77 141 .272 .364 .473 .837 125
2013 32 CLE 145 634 549 74 135 27 2 22 63 77 138 .246 .341 .423 .763 117
10 Yrs 1354 5647 4790 758 1220 278 11 231 736 746 1208 .255 .358 .462 .820 118
162 Game Avg. 162 676 573 91 146 33 1 28 88 89 145 .255 .358 .462 .820 118
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/12/2014.

2013 Year in Review:

A lot was expected of Nick Swisher in 2013. After signing a four-year $56-million dollar contract, he was thrust into the cleanup spot in the batting order with the hopes of supplying 25-plus home run power, 100-plus RBI, and unparalleled veteran enthusiasm. By the time the all-star break rolled around, many began to question the Swisher signing.

In his defense, injuries, particularly nagging right shoulder soreness, hindered his ability to hit for power for most of the season. In addition, the weight of expectations proved to be a bit too much. Used to hitting out of the two spot, Swisher struggled to adjust his approach as pitchers pitched to him like a cleanup hitter. It wasn’t until a late season change back to the two spot that he began to hit like the Nick Swisher of old.

Feb 24, 2014; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher took part in the annual photo day at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sport

By the end of the year, Swisher had put together a slash line of .246/.341/.423, far off from his career averages and what the Indians had expected. To make matters worse, Swisher only delivered 22 homers, not far off his career average, but not what anyone had hoped for from a cleanup hitter.

Conversely, many people like to rag on Swisher and his 63 RBI. For starters, RBI is not as simple of a stat as people like to believe. They see 63 RBI and believe that is a sign of failure. What they fail to consider is that for two months, Nick Swisher had a red-hot Jason Kipnis hitting ahead of him, knocking in runs left and right. That means for two solid months, he was encountering far fewer RBI opportunities. That is something that has to be taken into account.

That said, Nick Swisher did provide the veteran presence that Indians management had hoped for. He was a main reason why the team overcame their various struggles throughout the season and made their first playoff appearance since 2007. Even if Swisher struggled mightily in the one game wild-card play in game, without Swisher they may never have been there in the first place.

Looking ahead to 2014:

Nick Swisher avoided shoulder surgery and was able to make a full recovery through rest and relaxation. He’s entered spring training with a clear mind and an understanding that a single at bat won’t make or break his season.

Throughout much of 2013, Swisher pressed at the plate. Thanks to the four-year $56-million contract, he felt that every at-bat needed to be a home run and every RBI opportunity a success. He has even said as much in interviews over the winter. With a renewed focus, he expects to be better in 2014.

At the age of 33-years-old, there’s no reason to think that Nick Swisher can’t have one more solid season before both age and miles take hold. His overall skill set should translate well. He is a solid hitter that has shown an above average ability to get on base and produce runs. Add in his ever-youthful exuberance, and Nick Swisher should be able to rebound.

What You Should Expect:

Many of the projection systems published by Fangraphs don’t look at Nick Swisher’s 2014 prospects in a promising manner. As you can see here, many of the projections see Swisher duplicating his below average 2013 numbers. While it’s easy to make a case for why or even why not these numbers are accurate, we can all agree on one thing.

The success of failure of Nick Swisher’s 2014 season will come down to health.

If Swisher is able to avoid serious injury, or even the nagging injuries, there is no reason to think he can’t bounce back. In addition, the comfort factor cannot be overlooked. With another year, he is undoubtedly more comfortable with his role on the team and with the expectations that come with the contract he signed one winter ago. Because of that, Swisher almost certainly has to be better.

While this may not translate to more home runs or RBI, we may see a significant improvement in the numbers that really matter, OBP and OPS. We may also see a dramatic improvement in the number of runs he is able to score. That can only be good for the Indians. After all, the more runs a team can score, the better the odds of winning more games.

Winning more games will have everyone stoked, bro.

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