Mark Teixeira no longer cringe-worthy

His season was especially alarming because last year seemed like such a fall off for him. His batting average of .248 is not the most important of statistics, but it symbolized that Teixeira was tumbling a bit as his Yankee career continued. His .361 wOBA last season was his worst since his rookie season way back in 2003. Where Teixeira was sitting on such a late date as July 1, 2012 brought the obvious questions if Teixeira, at the age of 32, was seriously, and irrevocably regressing.

On the surface of things, his current wOBA of .358 is even lower than last season. But considering where he was on July 1, the number is a lot more encouraging in retrospect. But as they say, what a difference a month makes. July was the bomb for Teixeira. His OPS for the month was 1.017 as he batted .298 for the month and slugged .631. Over the course of the month, he became the team’s most reliable offensive force. Yankee Universe did not cringe when he came to the plate. And Teixeira drove in 27 runs in just 24 games in July.

What is even more encouraging is that his performance in July was his best month since July of 2010. He never had a month that good last season.

The end of July and the end of his big month did provide quite the scare though. On July 29, Teixeira dove for a baseball and something in his wrist began bothering him. An MRI showed no structural damage, but the pain did keep him out of two games. When he returned, he went on a woeful two for twenty-one run and a collective, “oh crap,” spewed across the land.

But Teixeira is five for his last twelve in the last three games and hit a homer on Thursday that was huge for the Yankees as it tied the game and allowed Eric Chavez to win it with a back-to-back homer. It was Teixeira’s first extra base hit of August.

Through it all, there are some interesting statistics for Teixeira this season. As difficult as it is to imagine, he has hit much better on the road this season than at home. At home this season, Teixeira has a .228 batting average and an OPS of .761. On the road, his BA is .283 with an OPS of .878. Is he more pull-happy at home? His BABIP at home is .218 and on the road, it is .285. He has a similar disparity as a left-hand hitter where his OPS is .770. His OPS as a right-handed batter is .921. That statistic is just one more reason why it is always nice to see a lefty starting for the opposing team.

There are some other interesting things in there. For example, his swinging strike rate this season at 6.3 percent is the lowest of his career. And his strikeout rate of 15.7 percent is his lowest since his 2008 season, the season that earned him his current lucrative contract. He is certainly more aggressive this season as he is swinging at 28.2 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. His career average is 22.8 percent. And his walk rate has suffered a bit as a result. It is still above average of 10.1 percent, but off the mark for his career 11.4 percent.

On the one hand, his current ISO of .229 is twenty points off of his career average and sixteen points below last season. But he still seems poised to continue his amazing run of 30-homer, 100+ RBI seasons. In fact, his ZiPS (U) projections put him easily over those markers. That projection is pretty remarkable from where Mark Teixeira was on July 1.

No, Mark Teixeira is not going to earn his $22 million in salary. But if you forget about all that, his power and his terrific play around first base still make him a very important player for the New York Yankees.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

One thought on “Mark Teixeira no longer cringe-worthy

  1. mcmastro

    In Detroit, I saw him being a lot more willing to take the ball the other way (batting left handed) and not trying to get so homer-happy. Definitely was a different hitter than what I and other Yankee fans have been accustomed to.

Comments are closed.