FanShot

How Swisher Got His Groove Back

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What the heck do the Yankees want with a guy who had just hit .219? As somebody who asked the very same thing, I thought about the trade on Tuesday night as I watched Swisher wipe the remnants of a pie from his face, planted there in celebration of his walk-off homer to beat the Rays 3-2. A year ago, Swisher was one of the unluckiest players in baseball. His line drive rate in 2008 was a career-high 20.9 percent. Based on that figure, his expected batting average for balls in play was .329, which would have been a just reward for hitting the ball hard. But instead, even though he pounded the baseball, Swisher's BABIP was a criminally low .251, a number that can be attributed to lots of terrible luck. Flash forward to Tuesday night. After swatting a pair of homers against the Rays, Swisher is hitting .254/.378/.506, defying even the most optimistic projections. His 26 homers are the second highest total of his career. What's changed? Well, scenery, for one. Swisher is having a lot more fun contributing to a winning team in New York than he did languishing for a winning team in Chicago. That's to be expected. But the real answer lies in Swisher's luck. (Goes on to explain BABIP, Line Drive %, wOBP, and other unexpected stats by a newspaper reporter. Cowley could learn from this.)

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