The All-Swisher Team

May 16, 2011 – 12:24 pm

I’m not near knowledgeable enough to know how one judge’s the performance of a hitting coach, so you have to take the following with one huge grain of salt. That said, I’m curious as to why it is that Kevin Long gets so much praise when he is able to turn around an individual hitter who is in a prolonged slump, but no one ever seems to look at the big picture of how all the hitters are doing. Now clearly Curtis Granderson has turned things around big time since the first part of 2010, and he gives much of the credit to Long, so that definitely goes in the plus column. But what about everyone else? Here’s how the Yankee hitters stack up so far this season compared to their career batting averages:

POS PLAYER 2011 BA CAREER BA DIFF
C Martin 0.243 0.271 -0.028
1B Texeira 0.259 0.285 -0.026
2B Cano 0.280 0.308 -0.028
SS Jeter 0.260 0.313 -0.053
3B Rodriguez 0.250 0.302 -0.052
LF Gardner 0.250 0.266 -0.016
CF Granderson 0.281 0.269 0.012
RF Swisher 0.217 0.251 -0.034
DH Posada 0.165 0.273 -0.108
AVG 0.245 0.282 -0.037

Nothing really surprising in those numbers — everyone is performing below their career numbers with the lone exception of Granderson. The two worst by far are Jeter and A-Rod, both more than 50 points off. The 3-4-5 hitters are off by an average of 35 points, and the starting lineup as a whole is off 37 points on average. Another way of looking at this is as bad as Swisher has been at the plate this year, he’s right at the average for the whole team. So basically we’ve got an entire starting lineup that is in a Swisher-like slump. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

Now I can think of  one caveat here — overall hitting is down across the league. Last year the league average was .260, this year so far it’s .250. So you can chalk up 10 points to “everyone is hitting a bit worse”. But still, every Yankee hitter (except for Granderson) is MORE than 10 points off. That still leaves the team average off by 27 unexplained points.

So I wonder why Kevin Long isn’t being held more accountable for this mess? Or maybe that’s not fair? And if not, what can explain how an entire team can perform so poorly? I got no answers.

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