"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

X Marks the Spot

Mark Teixeira comes across as polite and vanilla in interviews but he’s go the redass on the field. He plays hard, is a good fielder, and is easy to root for. I wonder if that’s the reason why he doesn’t face more criticism for his declining offensive game. He doesn’t get ripped in the papers. There are no vicious campaigns against him on-line. But the truth is, Teixeira is getting paid to be a superstar and .242/.345/.499 just doesn’t cut it.

[Photo Credit: Newsday]

Categories:  1: Featured  Baseball Musings  Yankees

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1 ms october   ~  Jul 21, 2011 9:37 am

i think the 3 reasons you mention (plays hard, good fielder, easy to root for) covers most of it.
i'd also add his power numbers (hrs and i'll throw rbis in there) mask some of it and he seems to go on hot streaks that can also mask the horrid slumps he also seems to get in.
plus the combination of easy to root for plus other lightning rods for criticism on the team allows him to hide.
no matter what there is always the arod detractors. now there is jeter and posada. there has been more criticism at times of cano, swisher, and gardner this year than teix.

2 monkeypants   ~  Jul 21, 2011 9:42 am

Ah, The dangers of signing a very good but not necessarily elite 1B coming off his best season at age 28 y.o. to a long contract for lots of money...

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 21, 2011 9:42 am

Teix gets a because he chose the yanks over boston and stuck it to them. They won the series his first year and he was 2nd in the MVP vote. Early success like that buys you a ton a leeway. He also fields his position, shows up every day, and plays hard.

Plus offense is down all over, so while this output is low for him, it's a little less off relative to the rest of the league.

I don't doubt there's a racist element for some people, willing to give a pass to white guy who is the son of a military dad, who wears his hair short and exudes obvious effort. That's not a profile some would ever target for scorn no matter the results.

All his decline is in the batting average, and it's all as a lefty vs the shift. He is a career .273 hitter from the left side and he's hit .240 and .220 as a lefty these last two seasons. I don't know how often he faced the extreme defensive alignments in the past, but it seems to be killing his batting average recently.

4 ms october   ~  Jul 21, 2011 9:59 am

[3] yeah ws win in the first year is a big part of it too.

when he drove a ball into rf last night batting rh kenny said something like that is what he can do as a rh hitter that he doesn't as a lh hitter.
from fanrgraphs, looking at his splits of basically his spray chart,
in the small but not ridiculously small sample of this year - as a lh hitter, 4% of his hits have gone to lf, 29% to cf, and 67% to rf.
career wise he's at 13% to rf, 28% to cf, and 58% to rf.

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 21, 2011 10:05 am

[4] And remember Giambi's batting averages? .330 in his last three yrs in oakland, by his second season in the Bronx, it had eroded all the way down to .250.

Age related decline (lack of roids for some), the shift, getting pull happy for the short porch, it all adds up to suck the batting average down to nothing.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 21, 2011 10:08 am

Jay Jaffe offers this: http://bit.ly/oYU2OY

7 ms october   ~  Jul 21, 2011 10:17 am

[5] oh yes.

i think he is a good example of where you would theoretically trade a few less hrs for some more balanced hitting that is sort of captured in average if in fact his pull happy approach to the short porch is what is partly responsible for the hrs but causing him to hit into more outs because of hitting into the shift.

his wrc+ this year is 131 and he is projected to hit 40 hrs but is probably on pace for more than that.

his first year in pinstripes was 142, and 39 hrs.
the two years before that was 155,33 and 148, 30. maybe years like this are in the rearview mirror for him.

8 MSM35   ~  Jul 21, 2011 10:27 am

Ted Williams said that if he had it to do over again he would go against the shift. In today's game power numbers are valued higher than ever. Player don't want to change and run the risk of hitting less long balls. We fans want the team to win and the players do also but not at the risk of those numbers.

9 RIYank   ~  Jul 21, 2011 10:27 am

[3] That's thorough and looks exactly right to me.

Also, for the Yankees, a guy who's a very good hitter paid like a great one is much easier to take than, say, a guy who's paid like a very good pitcher and stinks up the joint (or the DL).

10 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:04 am

the guys over at RAB called him the "$180M Tino Martinez" the other day. And when you take the money out the equation, which is admittedly hard but not impossible, that is kinda what he has been so far. And all Tino is is one of the most popular Yankees of the past 30 years.

I think the shift and a freakishly low BABIP (.227 this year as opposed to .285 his first two years in NY)are partially to blame here. Not to mention that its still kinda hard to totally get on a guy who will probably end up giving you around 40 home runs and 100+ RBI's to go along with elite defense.

11 a.O   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:12 am

He seems to be swinging and missing a lot more than he used to. Is there any evidence for that? I couldn't find any.

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:16 am


the comments below the article are priceless ....

13 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:18 am

Yeah, I don't know why anybody would complain about Tex, but they do, Alex. Look at the first comment allowing the Jaffe piece you linked. Online fans have been riding him hard since he got here. Even after the Series in '09, he was getting blasted here, and at other Yankees sites for his bad postseason numbers - regardless of the few tremendous contributions he made.
His bad April routine is a talking point against him every winter.
I think it's horseshit. He's an excellent player, and regardless of the money, or his decline in batting avg there aren't too many first baseman I'd rather have at this point.
But I disagree with your premise, Alex, that he gets a pass from the fans. I feel like I've had to defend him for years against irrational attacks, fans nitpicking particular stats, and ignoring his overall contributiions which have been significant

14 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:23 am

13) Interesting. I haven't seen that. But maybe I'm just running in different circles and haven't come across it. Thanks for the perspective.

15 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:27 am

(3) if you think it's mostly whites who give him a pass, are you suggesting it's mostly other races who are ripping him online? I think race is mostly a non-factor regarding how Tex is perceived, and valued by the fans.

16 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:41 am

[15] i didn't say that, not even close. but i don't share your perception that teix is a favorite target online, at least not where i tred.

17 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:50 am

16) sorry, but how am I misreading your comment?
Also, I didn't say he's a favorite target online, just that he is a target for criticism. Of course it's mostly because of the contract - but I don't know how you can say he hasnt been criticized by commenters here, and at pinstriped bible, and river ave.
Granted most of the criticism here or wherever else you tread is not harsh - but again, look at the first comment following the Jaffe piece Alex linked. There's been a lot of crap like that spewed about Tex. It didn't just start there today, and I don't think it's accurate to say he gets a pass from anybody.

18 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:55 am

17) Can you site the local columnists going after him? I don't recall seeing much of that at all. Not from the Post or the News, Newsday, Klapisch in Jersey.

19 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 21, 2011 11:58 am

[17] i just said there's a racist element for some people, not that it's the source for most people. most people don't dog him for all the other reasons i listed.

i don't see what you see, but whatever, i'm sure he gets his lumps from some quarters.

20 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 21, 2011 12:01 pm

18) I think it's the newspaper guys have been fair. You'll read about his slow Aprils all winter, but they're a fact. The bottomline with the newspaper guys though is that Tex isn't the kind of character who sells papers. Talk radio I'm not sure about, but I wouldnt be surprised if somebody called him out to make him a hot topic on a cold day

21 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 21, 2011 12:04 pm

19) fair enough. Sorry I misread your comment

22 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 21, 2011 12:29 pm

Over his 2.5 yrs with the Yankees, Mark has posted this:
.267, .368, .518, .885 - 132 OPS+.
Not elite but better then very good. His current OPS+ of 127 is a bit low. Frankly, I expect/hope his maintains a 130+ OPS+ for another 3 years.

If he made a commitment to go the other way when appropriate, he could post a 135 OPS+ easy. His pull-only approach hurts his numbers and the team.

23 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 21, 2011 1:17 pm

[21] no sweat.

24 RIYank   ~  Jul 21, 2011 1:39 pm

If he made a commitment to go the other way when appropriate, he could post a 135 OPS+ easy

Evidence? Example of a similar hitter who made the commitment and boosted his OPS?

25 William J.   ~  Jul 21, 2011 5:28 pm

[22] [24] The odd thing about Tex is that like Giambi he has transformed from being an all field, high average hitter, to a pull conscious slugger. The following link has that trend broken out in detail, but the bottom line is it has been stark: http://tinyurl.com/rxttsz

26 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 21, 2011 6:25 pm

Clearly , Tex and Cano are trying to do too much at the plate, and the fact is, they're trying to compensate for the guys above them in the batting order who have been underperforming far worse than they have to this point. The money that's being made on the other side of the infield, and the expectations there provide some cover for Cano and Tex, taking away some of the criticism - but it's wrong to suggest anyone's failings on this team are being ignored, or that anyone in the Yankees organization is getting a pass. This is a highly scrutinized team in all quarters.

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