Mark Teixeira is, no doubt, a favorite off-season whipping boy of many in the Yankee world. Both fans and commentators alike bemoan his pull-happy approach and his general lack of contact. While everyone agrees that his defense at first is nothing short of spectacular, it seems that his offense is still a source of division among the fanbase. It’s true that Tex’s average with the Yankees hasn’t been what it was prior to coming to the Bronx, but it’s just as true that his on-base and power skills have stuck around.
Another frequent complaint about Teixeira is his propensity to strike out. This something, though, that’s definitely overblown. Tex has never struck out even 130 times and has had a K% of over 20 just once, and that was in his rookie year in 2003 (20.4). This year, it’s sitting at 14.95% the lowest he’s had since a 13.6% mark in 2008. Of course, he’s always been able to back up those strikeouts (even if they aren’t high) with a lot of walks. This year, that’s also the case, but to a bit of a lesser extent. After yesterday’s three-walk performance, Tex has a walk rate of 10.51%. That’s solid, but it’s the lowest rate (which shows a lot about Tex’s eye) since his 9.9 mark in 2005 with Texas.
Like any first baseman worth his salt, Tex makes his living with power. That’s definitely true this year, as evidenced by his .232 Iso. But like the walk rate, it’s a little bit off. This is just the third time (2010 and 2006 were the others) that his Iso has been under .240. Tex’s HR/FB% is also a bit down; it’s at 16.1%, the third lowest mark of his career (15.0 in 2010; 15.9 in 2006). Again, though, none if this is bad, or even all that troubling.
Despite all that, at the end of the proverbial day, Mark Teixeira is having the “worst” year of his career since his rookie year. His wOBA and wRC+ check in at .351/119. Both numbers represent the second lowest marks of Tex’s career (.345/104 in 2003) and would be the first time since 2003 that he’d be under .360/120. Out of the qualified AL first basemen, he’s 6th in both wOBA and wRC+. That’s…fine. We’ve seen Tex down (April, June) and we’ve see Tex up (May, July). The whole picture may not look very Tex-like, but it’s not a bad picture at all. And if you believe in his career track record, things are likely to go up. Why? Because Tex’s best month has been August, where he sports a .403 wOBA.