Alex Rodriguez has been getting killed by the press since the Yanks were bounced last week, but that’s nothing new. He’s getting killed by fans–at least the ones I’ve talked to–and that, too, is nothing new. The one Yankee player who has benefitted most from this is Mark Teixeira. Over at SI.com, Tom Verducci weighs in:
Teixeira, who came to the Yankees as a .290 career hitter, followed that .256 season with another decline, to .248. Put him in a postseason environment, with better pitching and home runs tougher come to come by, and Teixeira’s rally-killing style is going to be more pronounced. He has hit .167 over his last 108 postseason at-bats.
His troubles are particularly acute from the left side. Teixeira batted .224 from the left side this year while getting only four hits all year to the opposite field.
His batting average on balls in play has dropped every year with the Yankees: .302, .268, .239. That’s not unlucky. It’s symptomatic of his hitting style. His fly ball rate has increased every year as a Yankee (37 in 2008, followed by 44, 46, 47). His infield pop-ups, which are no different than strikeouts, and were as low as 14 in 2008, have grown to 21, 30 and 27 as a Yankee.
Teixeira’s swing simply is not built to make him a consistent clutch hitter. After coming to the Yankees with a .308 average with runners in scoring position in 2008, he hasn’t come close to that kind of reliability with New York (.264, .273, .268) — especially in the postseason environment.
Teixeira turns 32 years old next season. The Yankees already have age-related issues with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. You can put Teixeira in that category, not because of health, but because his pull-happy, fly ball swing is the kind that doesn’t age well, sort of like those of J.D. Drew and Adam Dunn.
I wonder how long before Teixeira starts to feel the heat?