Teixeira not seeing more fastballs

Injury report: Posada back; Melky available
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Those who still suffer through ESPN’s Baseball Tonight saw a piece two nights ago on Mark Teixeira‘s amazing May. On the month, he is hitting .327/.395/.752 with 12 HR and 29 RBI, and he’s been on a tear since A-Rod has returned. During the Baseball Tonight segment on Teixeira, Rick Sutcliffe claimed that the Yanks’ first baseman had been the recipient of more fastballs since A-Rod’s return. Since pitchers wouldn’t want to pitch around Teixeira to get to A-Rod, he concluded that the fastballs must be the reason for Teixeira’s hot month. Statistician Magician, a new baseball site, went to the pitch f/x data and determined that actually Teixeira has seen fewer fastballs since A-Rod came back. So much for both that theory and ESPN’s research department.

Injury report: Posada back; Melky available
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  • A.D.

    I love the hard facts that the internet has brought to baseball vs having to take some ex players guess as fact.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    ESPN has no real research department.

    • A.D.

      Their research dept is what John Kruk saw with his eyes.

      • rbizzler

        …and what Sutcliffe can wring out of his alcohol addled brain.

  • Mike Pop

    Heh, that is pretty funny.

    I knew A-Rod’s return would help Teix but I knew it was more of Teix coming around type of thing. Plus the wrist had to of been hurting him.

    Actual facts – 100,000
    ESPN – 0

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Yeah, I agree that it’s partially just Tex hearing back up after a slow start. On average, Tex’s OPS jumps up 141 points from April to May; this year it’s jumped up 409 points. Holy Hell. So, perhaps it’s a combo of heating up and A-Rod coming back.

  • tim randle

    …any chance RAB confronts ESPN over this? Or maybe asks YES or the Yankees PR dept to send a happy text to ESPN suggesting otherwise?

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Eh, it’s not so cut and dry. There’s a different between getting a 2-0 or 3-1 changeup because Hideki Matsui is hitting behind you and getting a 2-0 or 3-1 fastball because A-Rod is behind you. I’m willing to bet the percentage of fastballs thrown to Tex both early in the count and in hitter’s counts went up a tick when A-Rod returned.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Sure, but attacking the zone vs. pitching around Teixeira isn’t the same as a blanket “seeing more fastballs” analysis.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        We are all witnessing “The Clash Of The Titans”.

        Will RAB Be ripped at the seams?
        Will Mike attack Ben’s position?
        Will Joe have one more hit before joining the fray?

        Stay tuned RABbers.

        • pat


        • kimonizer


      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Of course not, but I like to think a little deeper than that. ;)

    • Count Zero

      Yep — plus (as was pointed out in the post linked above) you have to look at how many of those fastballs were actually in the strike zone or even heart of the plate vs. on the black and at the knees.

    • rbizzler

      Agreed, but it is not surprising to see/hear ESPN analysts take the lowest common denominator route and babble on about lineup protection and other fallacies in order to ‘explain’ Yankee success.

      I mean did you hear Sutcliffe the other night spout off about how sure he was that Alex was tipping location to Tex?

    • Arin

      I agree with this, Mike. Pre A-Rod, Teix was getting thrown around; Pitchers nibbled at the strike zone in these counts instead of attacking it like they’re doing now.

      • whozat

        Maybe. We could actually go look, though, and be sure. We do know that he’s seeing more strikes in hitters counts, but what kinds of pitches are these strikes? Does it mean that Tex can sit dead-red if he works the count to 2-0 or 3-1? Does it mean that they’re throwing a get-me-over breaking pitch when they’re behind?

  • Brett

    ESPN has never let facts get in the way of a good argument

  • http://www.statisticianmagician.com/ Joe

    I appreciate you linking to me. But I cannot take credit for actually going to the Pitch F/X data. I posed that question to Dave of “The Baseball Analysts.” And he responded to it. But since then, Dave also glanced at where the pitches have been located, and it seems that Tex has seen about 4% more strikes since AROD returned.

    • rbizzler

      If we say that Tex is seeing 4 pitches/per plate appearance this year (really 3.89), then Tex is actually seeing 4 more strikes over the course of 25 PA’s. Or one strike every 6 AB’s or so.

      Now this doesn’t really say anything about the quality of strikes he is seeing, being that all strikes are not created equal. If he is seeing one more cookie every six AB’s that could actually impact his stats if he jumps on every mistake.

      • tim randle

        could you presume that he would only actually hit 27.5% of those mistakes, or are those mistakes built in to him hitting some % of his total pitches, etc.?

  • anonymous

    To be fair Tex did say in a post game interview he felt he was seeing more fastballs. That might have been their source for info.

    • whozat

      Here’s the thing I don’t get…presumably, ESPN employs researchers. These researchers COULD be doing the same thing that bloggers are doing just because they’re curious. But they’re not.

      They COULD have taken the same pitch f/x data that we have access to and looked at things like number of fastballs, number of fastballs in the zone, number of strikes, what happens in hitters counts vs pitchers counts…and then distilled it for Sutcliffe so he could say something like “While he’s not seeing more fastballs than before, Teixeira IS seeing more strikes in hitters counts; pitchers have to come to him now that ARod is behind him, while they used to be more willing to walk him,” and actually have it be supported by FACTS.

      A man can dream, can’t he?

      • radnom

        It isn’t like they did a whole segment on Tex seeing more fastballs though. I’m pretty sure BBTN isn’t hard scripted, its not like they ran these facts by a researcher or anything.

        • Mister Delaware

          Mark Teixeira can’t tell the difference between a fastball and a breaking pitch! That’s why Theo didn’t sign him!!! OMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!

      • BklynJT

        They would have to know what pitch f/x is in the first place

  • http://yankees.lhblogs.com Pete Abraham

    Teixeira has said he he seeing more strikes. I don’t have that data in front of me, but I would wager he sees more hittable pitches with Alex behind him than with Matsui. He’s not chasing as often as he was before.

    Plus when you say “fastballs” there’s a big difference between a four-seamer, a two-seamer or a cutter. All are “fastballs” but are entirely different pitches.

    • radnom

      Yes but that is generally semantics with the exception of the cutter, which is generally considered a separate pitch.
      The difference between a 2-seam and 4-seam would depend more on the pitcher on the hill that day, which should make much a difference pre/post Arod.

      Seeing more strikes does not mean seeing more fastballs. In fact, its proven he hasn’t.

      No on said anything about him not seeing more hittable pitches. Apparently he is seeing 4% more strikes, and I would be very comfortable wagering that a lot of those extra strikes came on
      A. fastballs
      B. hitter’s counts

      • radnom

        “which shouldn’t make much a difference pre/post Arod


    • jon

      this cant be the real pete ab, you didnt talk about how much you hate arod

      • radnom

        I was thinking the same thing….if anything he defended his protective abilities.


      • pat

        HAHAHA ietc very much.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      That is the real PeteAbe. He drops by now and then.

      Perhaps, Pete, I’m being too literal in parrying with ESPN this way. I don’t doubt that Teixeira has seen more hittable pitches, but it’s not really true to say he’s seen more fastballs. He’s certainly seeing — and hitting — more strikes.

    • anonymous

      I just said this. You want to get sued for plagiarism?

  • Mike

    yes, there is some A-rod factor but also realize tex does this every year and why is there not more made of the “simple” conversation Tex had w Tino the first day of the last home stand where Tino who has been through the pressing to start a career in ny just told him to be more aggressive. Also lets not forget the wrist injury hampering him early on.

  • Chris V.

    The strange thing is that ESPN.com had a similar fact on their website this morning in the baseball tonight clubhouse part. It showed that hes been receiving the exact same percentage of outside fastballs but since arod has come back he is hitting them much better. They actually made the case that he has not been seeing more fastballs since he came back, completely opposite of what they said on tv. So they do the research they just dont use it.

  • justin

    ESPN has a research department? I thought that Berthiaume, Phillips & co. were allergic to research and “facts”

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