Our infatuation with Swisher was a product of his finish to the 2006 season which saw a promising 25 year old really start to come into his own at the plate. Swish absolutely mashed in the months of August and September hitting 13 homers with 39 RBIs and 34 runs scored. In addition to the surge in power numbers, Swisher continued to walks, drawing 4 balls 34 times over the 2 months span while compiling a stunning 1.062 OPS in the final month of the season.
Swisher had an off year in 2007 with a noticeable drop in his power numbers; however, many of his other key numbers actually remained the same or actually improved.
AB R H HR RBI BB OBP SLG OPS BA
2006 539 84 141 22 78 100 .381 .454 .835 .261
2007 556 106 141 35 95 97 .371 .492 .869 .253
Taking a closer look at Swisher's output, the bolded numbers highlight those that dropped from 2006 to 2007. If you notice, outside of the power numbers - Homeruns and Slugging - the key stats that took a hit were runs scored and RBI, two stats reliant on outside factors aka other hitters in the lineup. Swisher actually increased his OBP by walking more and equalling his 2006 hit total in the less ABs in 2007.
Given that SBs were a non-factor both seasons (he wasn't running himself out of scoring position), it can be deduced that while Swish's RBI totals were hurt a bit by his reduced power production, the fact that he hit in a poorer lineup in 2007 played a big role in his diminished offensive production, particularly runs scored. To this end, the loss of Frank Thomas as a legitimate clean up stick in the lineup furthers my point as Swish thrived when hitting in front of the Big Hurt in 06.
Not only will Swisher benefit from moving to a considerably better hitter's park, (especially for homeruns) but the 2008 Chicago White Sox lineup will also provide Swisher with ample protection. He will most likely slot into the two hole to start the season and eventually hit third. As of now, I see White Sox looking something like this next season:
1. Orlando Cabrera SS
2. Nick Swisher CF
3. Paul Konerko 1B
4. Jim Thome DH
5. Jermaine Dye RF
6. Josh Fields 3B
7. AJ Pierzynski C
8. Carlos Quentin LF
9. 2B Danny Richar?
I still feel that White Sox GM Kenny Williams has one more trade he would like to make to add pitching and it could very well include Dye or Thome (I don't see Konerko getting moved). Thus, Swish could very well begin the year in the three hole in front of Konerko, the optimal lineup spot for him in Chicago.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Swisher just turned the golden age of 27 on November 25th, just ask Garrett Atkins and Vernon Wells how that year worked out for them...