Here’s Bryan Hoch (MLB) on Nick Swisher’s defense:
Swisher has had a mixed bag of results in the outfield this season with the Yankees, turning in some splendid defensive plays along with a few bloopers — missed diving catches and air-mailed throws to the screen behind home plate among them.
Swisher said the sharp toss home to catcher Jose Molina, picked clean and applied to the sliding Castro, was no fluke.
“I’ve really been trying to concentrate on the defensive end of things,” Swisher said. “I don’t like coming out of games, and early in the season, it happened late in games that I would get a defensive replacement. I’ve really been trying to take a lot of pride in the defensive end so I can stay out there for all nine.”
Swisher said that he has been scoring a little guidance on the topic from a pair of sources that might be less-than-expected — the Yankees’ pitching coach and one of the team’s two left-handed relievers.
“Dave Eiland has been on me, saying, ‘You’ve got a lot more in the tank,’” Swisher said. “I did a couple of things mechanically, and Phil Coke has helped me out a little bit. I just feel like I’m getting on top of the ball a little better. My ball is staying more straight and not tailing or cutting. In general, it’s helped out a lot.”
Based on his UZR, Swisher’s defense has improved considerably (his range is rated 5.9) despite making everything look like an adventure when in RF. He is right, however, to work on his throwing since it’s been the worst part of his defensive game. Swisher’s arm is rated 4.6 runs below average–the worst RF rating in the American League—and Yankee fans are used to his errant throws by now. Hopefully, with help from the staff, he’ll continue to get better. He looked pretty good in last night’s game.