Will working with Sports Psychologist help Swish?

Article on MLB.com  about Nick Swisher and all that he has done in the off-season to “get to the next level” .  “I want to be known as a good ballplayer,” he said. “There’s a lot more to me than just a good clubhouse guy. That’s the statement I’m trying to make this year.”

To get to the next level he has gotten in great condition training with the Ohio State football team and starting to eat properly. While this is important, we hear tons of players say every ST that they are in the best shape of their career. I do believe it will help because although it was never written anywhere, Swisher looked soft and out of shape to me last Spring and I think it led to his dismal first 2 months.  He got married last off-season and I think it took him a couple of months to work  back into proper condition last yr.

Swish acknowledged that athletes always say they are in great shape and said the thing that will really give him an edge is he started seeing a sports psychologist. This is an interesting development to me because Swisher is such an emotional and animated player that perhaps this will help him to relax a bit.  He’s a solid player but his 2 biggest knocks are inconsistency and terrible post-season play.  While most dismiss his post-season struggles with the convenient “small sample size” theory, perhaps there is credence to the theory that he puts too much pressure on himself in these situations and if he learns to better relax himself and focus, he’ll improve.  Psychology is a big part of sports and there are certain people who put added pressure on themselves and tense up or try to do too much in certain situations.  It remains to be seen if this will help Swisher, but if he becomes more consistent and finally has a good post-season, it will definitely add to his value in Free Agency.

Which brings us to the question of what to do with him at the end of the year.  I have never been the biggest fan of Swisher’s.  He’s a solid player and was very valuable when his first 2 years in relation to his salary.  But hitting the open market, he should be in line for at least a 3-yr deal and possibly 4 at anywhere from $10-15M per yr depending on this season. IMO, the Yanks simply cannot afford to re-sign Swish due to the impending 2014 budget constraints.  I think the right move is to offer Swisher the $12.5 Million Arbitration tender necessary to get 1st rd Draft Pick Compensation if he signs with another team.  that way, if he leaves you get a pick and if he stays, you have him for 1 year without adding another high guaranteed deal to the 2014 budget.

The emergence of Zoilo Almonte this Spring has raised a lot of eyebrows and if the young OF has a good season in the minors, he could be in line to help in 2013 or 2014. Either way, I don’t think the Yanks can sign Swisher long-term.  I believe they can trade for a lower priced OF to provide solid production and who is a better hitter from the LH side.

What does everyone think…..is the ‘great shape & nutrition” and “sports psychology” going to make a difference for Swish? And would you keep him after this season?

About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on March 15, 2012, in Personal Opinion. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Fishjam..
    That picture of Swisher shows it all, nothing more to be said…so I won’t! 🙂

  2. Well the only problem I’ve ever had with Swisher is his post-season performance, so… hey, what’s there to lose?

    • Eric, I don’t believe in clutch hitters, it’s more like a hitter gets hot at the right time. Some hitters that do well in the post season don’t hit well during the year. I do think that a hitters confidence is boosted by getting a couple of hits in a big situation. Post-season performance is a very small sample therefore very random.

      • Good morning Doug and Eric,
        The problem with Swisher has to do with his inability to hit top notch pithers.In the post season thats all a hitter faces.Teams that make the dance have great starting pitching and the 4and 5’s don’t see the mound.If Swish faced mediocre pitching in the playoffs and like Doug said was hot he would hit.
        Swish is a mistake hitter that works counts in his favor against great pitchers it doesn’t work.
        I have heard scouts say that they don’t even game plan Swish.If the pitcher makes his pitch ,Swish is out.
        I like Nick as a team guy but with 2014 around the corner Yanks have no room for him.

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