Jun
10

Mark Teixeira and the changeup

By

Photo Credit: Darren Calabrese, AP

If you’ve watched the Yankees at all this year and last, you’ve surely noticed that first baseman Mark Teixeira has had an exceptionally tough time against changeups in 2010. This was particularly obvious last Saturday, when he looked helpless in striking out five times against changeup specialists Ricky Romero and Casey Janssen. The advanced metrics are picking up on Tex’s weakness against changeups as well, saying he’s been worth 0.58 runs below average against the pitch (for every 100 seen) this season compared to 0.88 runs above average last year and an even 1.00 for his career.

The struggles against changeups carry over to the fastball as well, which is expected given the relationship between the two pitches. It’s called a changeup in the first place because it changes the hitter’s timing off the fastball. Tex has produced 0.43 runs below average against the heater this year (again per 100 seen), compared to +2.20 last year and +1.70 for his career. Clearly, he’s not recognizing changeups and it’s affecting him against fastballs, which a hitter of his caliber should (and traditionally has) murder.

The season isn’t young anymore, we’re 59 games in and Tex is hitting an unacceptable .224-.338-.388. Maybe it’s time to (forgive the pun) change things up and try something not necessarily drastic, but unique. Allow me to quote Jack Moore fromSPN’s TMI blog

Recently, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has employed an unorthodox strategy against pitchers with great change-ups. Ever since Dallas Braden and his nasty change threw a perfect game against the Rays, Maddon has stacked his lineups with players who bat with the same hand as the starting pitcher in order to neutralize that pitch. The change-up is a pitch that is typically used to neutralize opposite-handed hitters, and so Maddon is attempting to take away this advantage from pitchers with great change-ups by reducing the number of opposite-handed hitters in the lineup. So far, the strategy has worked pretty well.

(snip)

However, the Rays sent up switch-hitters Ben Zobrist and Dioner Navarro to bat right handed against Marcum, and even more telling was that they not only used right-handed catcher Kelly Shoppach as the DH, but they hit him clean-up.

Did it work? Marcum’s line — four innings, 10 hits and seven earned runs — certainly suggests it did. Shoppach, Navarro, and Zobrist were a combined 3-for-6 against Marcum, including a home run by Navarro.

Maddon essentially tailored his lineups to take away the opposing pitcher’s greatest strength, and so far it’s worked. It’s unconventional, but it’s hard to argue with the early returns. Maybe this an approach Teixeira should take, batting from the same side as the pitcher if he has a great change, reducing what is his greatest weakness at the moment.

I’m sure it’ll be a tremendously uncomfortable experience for him since he’s never faced a non-knuckleball pitcher throwing from the same side in his big league career, but at this point it might be worth a shot. I already cited his awful stats, and whenever Tex seems to be coming out of it, he sinks right back into the pit of suckiness. It shouldn’t happen with a player of his caliber, and whatever they’re trying now just isn’t working.

Of course, Tex is just 30-years-old and in the prime of his career, so perhaps it’s best to just show confidence in him and hope it works itself out. How much longer can they wait though?

Categories : Offense

186 Comments»

  1. Stuckey says:

    “The season isn’t young anymore, we’re 59 games in and Tex is hitting an unacceptable .224-.338-.388.”

    Can’t say I’m a fan of when otherwise smart people write dumb, hyperbolic things…

    “Unacceptable”…?

    That’s beneath you.

    • poster says:

      What would you find acceptable, though?

      • mike c says:

        nobody thinks that’s a good BA, but his 36 RBI so far means he is at least producing during a slump.. when he starts hitting more regularly he’s going to explode

        • poster says:

          RBI is a terribly limited statistic. That proves nothing.

          • mike c says:

            he’s scored 36 RBI so far. if he scores 120 RBI and hits .250 i would be satisfied

            • Not all .250 and 120 RBI seasons are created equal, you know. Jose Guillen has been doing that in Kansas City, and his horrible OBP kills rallies left and right.

              • mike c says:

                Kansas City

                try again

              • mike c says:

                furthermore, tex’s OBP is .115 over his BA. if this is consistent, and he hits .250 this season, a .365 OBP isn’t terrible. a bit disappointing, yes– but the damage to his season’s average numbers has been done, and the team is winning. the rest of the year is gravy

                • Pete says:

                  Tex is, however, neither hitting .250 nor OBPing .365, not that either would satisfy his contract.

                  • Captain Jack says:

                    Okay this is overreacting quite a bit, Mark Teixeira has a .387 wOBA over 4900 PAs. I’d say he knows what he’s doing at the plate, combined with the fact that he’s hitting .220 as opposed to .280 where he is at in his career, I’d say he’s coming across quite a bit of bad luck…also consider the fact that his HR/FB ratio has dipped…I’m positive that he’ll turn it around. Why question him though? Joba Chamberlain’s pumping out more 92 MPH fastballs and fewer 98 MPH fastballs over the past two years than he did in 2007-2008, something that’s actually…y’know…not luck dependant and a huge cause of concern for a young pitcher, and everyone’s still showing faith in him. Alex Rodriguez went through countless awful post season games, everyone here stood by him then…chalked it up to SSS and realized that he’s a great hitter, eventually he’ll put up great post season numbers. Why not show Teixeira the same support, if he was hitting his career average and his BB% stayed the same and his SLG/BA ratio stayed the same he’d be OPSing .900.

                    • rbizzler says:

                      I think that everyone is showing plenty of support for Tex, but would also like to see him start producing.

                      And I agree with you that his history, combined with his batted ball stats for this year, bode well for his return to form.

                    • Pete says:

                      huh? I said nothing about Tex being done or anything like that. What I said was that the “well if we win the WS anyway, who cares?” logic is flawed. Tex’s usual production may be superfluous now, but in a couple years it may very well not be.

        • “nobody thinks that’s a good BA, but his 36 RBI so far means he is at least producing during a slump benefiting from having great teammates around him which give him tons of baserunners and oodles of RBI opportunities as well tons of protection behind him, so that he’s still knocking runs in at a high aggregate total despite being shitty at knocking them in on a rate basis

          Fixed.

          • mike c says:

            scoring runs = winning games
            the batting average will even out eventually. he’s still producing and helping the team win, even if his BABIP is very low

            • poster says:

              You just ignored that whole post, didn’t you?

              • mike c says:

                no, i happen to disagree. did you know you’re actually allowed to disagree with TJSC? If you’re saying something like “tex is producing RBI’s because of his teammate’s protection” when tex is getting intentionally walked to load the bases for arod, then i’m not going to agree. do you want me to make bullet points for you or can you offer some kind of insight?

                • poster says:

                  You didn’t refute anything TSJC said.

                  I’m not arguing this with you.

                  • mike c says:

                    your cat’s breath smells like cat food.

                    i digress, perhaps i could have spelled it out a little better. would you like me to break it all down for you? because i really don’t want to

                • Pete says:

                  That is a total strawman. Nobody said “Tex is producing RBI’s because of his teammate’s [sic] protection”. They said that he is producing because he hits with a well-above-average number of runners on base, PLUS has the added protection of A-Rod and Cano hitting behind him. Do you really think pitchers are, in general, pitching around Tex, who isn’t hitting at all, to get to A-Rod, who is hitting, just not for power, just because they’ve intentionally walked him a couple of times for strategic reasons?

                  I agree with the idea that there’s no need to bitch and moan about a team that’s doing quite well, but that doesn’t mean there’s cause for concern. Tex having decent RBI totals despite sucking horribly on offense this season does not assuage those concerns.

                • NickyTheSwish says:

                  Teixeira has had 120 AB with runners on base from which he has produced 32 of his 36 RBI. In those 120 AB he’s hitting .233/.366/.417. In 65 AB with RISP he’s hitting .231/.405/.415 to net him 25 of his RBI. If he was not hitting 3rd every game sandwiched between Jeter/Swisher and A-rod/Cano he would have far fewer RBI opportunities and thus far fewer RBI, and if virtually anyone else on the team was given his RBI opportunities they would, as a result of these numbers, have more RBI than he has managed to produce. Is that clear enough for you?

              • Once and Future Lurker says:

                He didn’t ignore the post, he just said that it doesn’t matter. I tend to agree, at least with this part. If he’s getting enough RBIs, who cares why or how? The rally-killing and all that aside, TJSC’s post addressed the nature of his RBIs, but I don’t quite get it. He’s not getting them consistently, but he is getting them. If he finishes the season with 150 and the Yankees make the playoffs, what’s the difference?

                • Steve H says:

                  Because RBI tell us nothing about a players performance. They are all about opportunity.

                  David Dejesus knocks in about the same percentage of runners that Ryan Howard does. Again, opportunity leads to RBI, not being “an RBI guy”.

                • Pete says:

                  The difference is that you’d be greatly overpaying him, and such fiscal inefficiency is what destabilizes dynasties. It would suggest either that we paid for him despite not needing his expected (and paid for) production, and therefore could have used that money somewhere more prudent while creating a great deal of flexibility in the future, or that we succeeded mostly based on luck, and, if Tex continues to perform at that level, probably would not continue to sustain that level of success.

                  Neither is a good option.

    • pat says:

      1/3 of the season has passed. Luckily we have a good enough lineup to cover up his deficiencies, because if we were leaning on him to carry us, we could very well be 7 or 8 games out of it.

    • Carcillo says:

      So someone making 22.5 million to hit putting up a line of .224/.338/.388 more than 33% of the way through the season isn’t putting up “unacceptable” numbers?

      Wow.

      • Stuckey says:

        No, you miss the point. Bloggers should accept the responsibility of using the English language correctly.

        While I understand lots of people walk around using words like “acceptable” and “guarantee” incorrectly every day, I don’t expect to see someone as capable as Mike use it for effect in that way.

        “Unacceptable” MEANS something.

        I’m afraid, you, I and Mike have little choice in the matter.

        • I’m with Stuckey.

          I’m reminded of when we lost a series last June to the last-place Nationals. Bridge-jumpers galore were calling losing a series to a last place team “unacceptable”.

          They were wrong.

          • Stuckey says:

            I admit after just seeing Joel Sherman and Jayson Stark quite literally prostitute themselves (over CC Sabathia) in order generate an angry response from Yankees fans, only to see this SORT of thing here (to a smaller degree for sure), I reacted.

          • vin says:

            Yeah, but in fairness, Strasburg and Harper each had HUGE series against the Yanks. When those two guys are on, no one is beating the mighty Nats.

            /revisionist history’d

        • bexarama says:

          Yep. When I see “unacceptable” I have to twitch a bit. Of course, early on last night I saw a lot of, regarding CC, “this performance against the Orioles is unacceptable” and I just don’t like that word in this case. It’s just such a serious word, I have trouble using it to describe baseball-related stuff, you know?

        • Mike HC says:

          Yea, unacceptable means not satisfactory or inadequate. Teix’s current hitting is surely inadequate right now. Hitting like this is unacceptable. Nothing about the word means he is not expected to get better. It just means his current hitting numbers are not acceptable. I really don’t see the problem here at all.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Would…

      The season isn’t young anymore, we’re 59 games in and Tex is hitting an unacceptable .224-.338-.388, which is really bad and shouldn’t be happening…

      … have been better?

      • I’d say” Really bad and I wish it wasn’t happening.”

        Tex’s slump is regrettable, unfortunate, saddening, maddening, frustrating, it’s lots of things, but “unacceptable” isn’t one of them, IMHO. I don’t want Tex to slump, but I can accept it, because A.) we’re still winning and B.) he’s a good hitter who we all believe will turn it around at some point.

        But “unacceptable” means “I won’t accept this and personnel action must be taken immediately”. “Unacceptable” is language I used with my subordinates when I accumulated information for their files in preparation of firing them.

        Tex hitting .224/.338/.388 in mid-June is frustrating and unfortunate. If Cody Ransom were hitting .224/.338/.388 in mid-June, THAT would be unacceptable.

        • pat says:

          Tex hitting .224/.338/.388 in mid-June is frustrating and unfortunate. If Cody Ransom were hitting .224/.338/.388 in mid-June, THAT would be unacceptable.

          Unless there is a specific gramatically based rule I don’t know about, and Lord knows I don’t have no good grammer skills, I look at it the completely opposite way.

          If Handsome Cody were hitting .224/.338/.388 that’s perfectly acceptable because he’s a scrub and we don’t expect anything else. For a 20 million dollar man with his track record and and hitting abilities .224/.338/.388 is completely unacceptable. In a vacuum, a guy with that line should either be demoted in the lineup or benched However, we know he’ll turn it around eventually and it could be potentially damaging to his psyche therefore he stays in the three hole.

          If you had a subordinate performing at half of their normal productivity it would be labeled as unacceptable.

          • Steve H says:

            I think the context of AB’s is at the crux of this. If Cody Ransom were hitting .224/.338/.388 in 200+ AB’s, then that would be unacceptable.

          • Pete says:

            Yes and no. Cody Randsom putting up that line as a “scrub” would be perfectly acceptable. Having a “scrub” as a permanent fixture in your starting lineup, barring some unforeseen circumstance in which no player better than Randsom is attainable via trade/FA/promotion/picking someone out of the stands/etc, is what TSJC is saying is “unacceptable.”

          • Sorry, maybe I was unclear. Here’s what I’m saying:

            If Mark Teixeira was on this team and by mid-June he had 200+ plate appearances and had a line of .224/.338/.388, that’s something that I would find frustrating and maddening and upsetting, but I could accept it as unfortunate because I know Mark Teixeira is better than that and the overwhelming statistical likelihood is that he’ll bounce back and iron himself out. It’s acceptable (but not GOOD or DESIRABLE or COMFORTING, merely something that can be accepted) because while it’s not the optimal outcome, no drastic action need be taken.

            If Cody Ransom were the player with 200+ plate appearances and a .224/.338/.388, that would be unacceptable, because Cody Ransom sucks. Action should be taken immediately, Ransom should be DFA’d, because while his line is just as shitty as Tex’s line, there’s no indication that Ransom will provide better results in the future. I cannot accept Cody Ransom being on this team getting significant plate appearances and sucking up the joint. I CAN accept it for Tex, because he give reason for optimism.

            Basically, “unacceptable” = “I cannot endure this any more. Something must be done to stop this.”

            Is that more straightforward?

        • Pete says:

          exactly this. soooooo much of this. “Unacceptable” means “necessitating immediate change”, which suggests such a change is within the realm of plausible effectuation. This is not an “unacceptable situation”, it is a “shit happens” situation. We have no choice but to deal with this slump, because there is no alternative. If there were an alternative course of action and the Yankees/Tex were not taking it, then THAT would be unacceptable.

          • Mike HC says:

            Yes, “necessitating immediate change,” as in, he has to start hitting better.

            And two, “unacceptable” does not mean that.

            • Pete says:

              “Yes, “necessitating immediate change,” as in, he has to start hitting better”

              Or what? We cut him?

              No. We just want him to start hitting better. There’s no “has to” here, because, as we’ve been stressing, there’s no alternative to him. He will hit however well he hits, and we will deal with it if he doesn’t hit well.

              • Mike HC says:

                Or the Yanks will not be as successful as they could be. This is not life and death here. It is sports. Teix’s hitting directly affects the wins and losses of the team. If he continues to hit this way, the Yanks will not win as many games than if he hits like he usually does.

                • poster says:

                  Nobody said differently.

                  • Mike HC says:

                    So not winning as many games as we could have is acceptable to you? If the Yanks miss the playoffs in large part to Teix struggling all year, that is unacceptable. If they lose in the playoffs in large part to Teix’s struggles, that is unacceptable to me. Maybe you are just a calmer fan than me.

          • This is not an “unacceptable situation”, it is a “shit happens” situation. We have no choice but to deal with this slump, because there is no alternative.

            All of that.

            • Mike HC says:

              I don’t agree there at all. The alternative is that he hits better.

              • That’s the alternative for Mark.

                WE, as in either we the fanbase or we the Yankee organization, WE have no choice but to deal with Mark’s slump because there is no alternative. WE’RE not going to bench him or trade him or cut him or do anything, we’re going to sit patiently and wait for his results to improve.

                Any action WE (as in NOT Mark Teixeira himself) take would be a boverreaction. Other than the coaching and adjusting he’d do with coaches, which is undoubtedly already happening as we speak.

                • Pete says:

                  lemme rephrase that – you said the alternative is that he hits better. How is that an alternative? If he could elect to hit better, wouldn’t he have done so already? There’s no choice here, that’s the point. As fans, we have no choice but to wait for him to start hitting better. As his employers, the Yankees have no choice but to wait for him to start hitting better. As himself, Mark Teixeira has no choice but to wait until he starts hitting better, because I assure you, he’s doing everything possible to improve his play right now.

                  • Mike HC says:

                    It is unacceptable that he is hitting the way he currently is. The alternative is that he hits better, as in, he squares the ball on his bat better, hits the ball harder, hits more homeruns etc … Players tend to go about this by taking batting practice, going over video, working out more, getting in the right mental state and many other ways. That is how.

                    • Tex is doing all that, and still not getting results.

                      Now what?

                    • Mike HC says:

                      Then the Yanks will not be as good a team as they could have been if Teix was to hit to his career averages and what was expected. Which will be an unacceptable/inadequate/unsatisfactory result.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      Just because you can’t change something, does not mean it can’t be unacceptable. If you are tied up watching a loved one get killed, that is not acceptable, even though you could not do anything about it.

                      Yes, you have to accept that it happened, like you accept Teix is hitting far below his career averages, but the event (the killing or the hitting) is still unacceptable.

                      That is how I see it. I understand the way you guys are looking at it, and semantics definitely comes into play here, so it is really not that big a deal.

      • mike c says:

        the problem not your wording.. it’s blatantly obvious he’s struggling, we don’t need to be reminded. we get it. are we annoyed? yes we all are, some think he’s going to snap out of it soon, some don’t. regardless i’m sure the wheels are turning

        • rbizzler says:

          I am 100% sure that Mike’s post was an exercise in trying to understand the nature of Tex’s struggles in a more complete manner. He merely saw Tex struggle against guys with good changeups and looked deeper into the numbers. If you are ‘annoyed’ by this type of analysis then maybe you should skip posts such as these.

      • Mike HC says:

        I don’t think using unacceptable was a problem at all. I highly doubt Teix, Girardi and Long are sitting around, twiddling their thumbs just “accepting” Teix’s struggles, not doing anything about it.

        It is unacceptable in the sense something has to change, or be fixed, or whatever. Maybe he has to do more work. Getting better and out of funks is all about not accepting it. I like this idea about neutralizing a pitchers best pitch. And when a proven guy like Maddon makes the decision to make a change, people should take notice.

        The Yanks don’t even “accept” Teix’s yearly struggles in April. They tried to make adjustments and hoped for that to change this year. Just because it didn’t does not mean they accepted it. They made light of it. They endured it. They had no choice. They did not accept it.

        • I don’t think using unacceptable was a problem at all. I highly doubt Teix, Girardi and Long are sitting around, twiddling their thumbs just “accepting” Teix’s struggles, not doing anything about it.

          False dichotomy FTL.

          Tex’s struggles are not unacceptable, nor are they really “acceptable” either. It’s none of the above.

          If forced to be one or the other, though, it’s closer to “acceptable” than “unacceptable”. But BOTH words are ill-fitting in this instance, IMO.

          • Mike HC says:

            Fair enough there. It can be somewhere in the middle.

            But at least one definition of unacceptable is inadequate or unsatisfactory. Teix’s current hitting line surely falls under that category.

            • Perhaps.

              I suppose my visceral negative reaction to the word was born out of two sources:

              1.) The frequency in which the word is used throughout the interwebs in the boverreacting, harsher “SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT THIS NOW SOMEONE MUST BE FIRED” sense of the word;
              2.) The way the word is used in corporate HR jargon as a synonym for “this is an offense/performance/result for which you may be subject to termination”

              I get that there’s a connotation for unacceptable which means simply “this is not good or satisfying”, but the fact that it also has a connotation that means “this is something that is untenable and severe action must be taken immediately” makes me wish people used a different word if all they mean is the first connotation.

    • theyankeewarrior says:

      I think we’re splitting hairs here. I also believe that Tex himself might deem his .224 etc. line “unacceptable” as in, he needs to not accept that level of play and get better.

      On another note, Mike! Check your email. Good news awaits.

    • Pete says:

      I semi-agree. It didn’t bother me because Mike A has never really intimated any kind of Wally Matthews-y-ness or whatever, but people do tend to use that word, and it does bother me sometimes. “Shitty” would have been a preferable choice, because “unacceptable” implies that there exists another option – one that is “acceptable” – and that the transgressor has some ability to change things. I know it’s not what you meant, but saying that his performance is unacceptable does subtly hint that he is somehow choosing this course of events (or, I should say, has any control over them). Tex is failing miserably, but outside of not hitting the ball, he’s doing nothing wrong that we know of. He can only control how hard he works, and thus far we’ve heard nothing about him not working hard.

      If he’s masking some kind of injury, however, then “unacceptable” is EXACTLY the right word to use.

  2. mike c says:

    last 7 days (yes including the 5 K toronto game): .296/.387/.481
    don’t mess, he’ll come around

  3. A.D. says:

    Gotta give Maddon credit on that idea so far, very interesting.

    • Ever since Dallas Braden and his nasty change threw a perfect game against the Rays, Maddon has stacked his lineups with players who bat with the same hand as the starting pitcher in order to neutralize that pitch.

      Respect the Two-Oh-Nine, biznatch. That’s how we do it.

      I MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!!!

      Deuce-out,
      D-Brizzle fo’ Shizzle

    • vin says:

      He certainly does a good job of playing the role of “creative, long-time baseball guy who finally got a chance to manage.” I’m always interested when these guys get hired, as opposed to a Dave Trembley.

      By all accounts Trembley was supposed to be the guy who would take the O’s back to respectability, but he just didn’t have the horses to do the work. Look at Trey Hillman. Joe Posnanski wrote a great blog post about Hillman after he got axed. I had no idea he was so inept. He had quite a bit of hype during that offseason, and was even connected to the Yankee job early on.

  4. KeithK says:

    Switching sides against change up pitchers would make more sense if this was a problem that TEx has had throughout his career. This doesn’t seem to be the case based on Fangraphs data. Trying it might just mess him up further by adding another new variable.

    I don’t know why Tex is in such a deep slump. But if he isn’t hurt he’s probably going to come out of it at some point.

  5. poster says:

    I don’t have too much problem with the word “unacceptable” because I think we’re arguing semantics.

    But besides that, I’m not really too worried about Tex. This reminds me a bit of the epic Jeter slump of 04′. Unless I’m remembering wrong (and I might be, of course) the Jeter slump wasn’t QUITE as bad as the Tex slump so far, but on the other hand when Tex gets hot he fucking KILLS the ball, so it might even out.

    • Pete says:

      re: semantics:

      I would agree with you, except that this comment: http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-917146 proves that it’s not semantics. Semantic arguments are ones in which both parties agree and have the same understanding, but are arguing over nothing more than the phrasing.

      The use of the word “unacceptable” in reference to a situation like this proliferates a misunderstanding of how the game works. Obviously, we all know and love Mike A, and know well that he understands the game much better than the many writers who do proliferate misunderstanding, but it is nevertheless worth specifically not using particular words which, if semantically mistaken, can lead to a broader misconception.

      The misconception I’m referring to is the idea that players have a significant amount of conscious autonomy over their success and failure. Obviously, the amount of offseason preparation and maintained work over the course of a season do have an affect on a player’s performance. But we have no evidence to suggest that Tex’s work ethic has slipped, or that his preparation was any different. Things of that nature fall into “unacceptable/acceptable” category because they are the results of conscious decisions and therefore alternatives can be consciously pursued.

      But with no real knowledge of the cause of Tex’s struggles, neither we nor he can rectify the situation through conscious action. I doubt anybody would suggest that Tex is not trying as hard as he can to pull out of this slump. If he were the kind of player who offered no realistic reason for optimism, like the Cody Ransom analogy below (I think), then there would be something the Yankees could consciously effect – they could cut him. But it would be rash and irrational to cut or trade (unless there were a great trade option, which there clearly isn’t) Mark Teixeira based on 60 games worth of struggles. So there is nothing the Yankees can do to rectify the situation.

      Similarly, Tex is (presumably) doing the same preparatory stuff he has done his entire career. Abandoning something that has, at least in part, led to 7 years of success in the majors based on 60 games of failure would be just as rash and irrational as the Yanks cutting Tex. So there is nothing Tex can consciously do to rectify the situation.

      As fans, we have essentially no control whatsoever over anything that happens on the field. So there is nothing we can do, rational or not, to rectify the situation.

      Based on all of that, it’s pretty easy to come to the conclusion that nothing can be done to change the situation, and we all just have to wait it out. Which begs the question – how can something be “unacceptable” if we have no choice but to accept it?

  6. Diane says:

    I find the tone of many of the comments here to be … unacceptable.

  7. SK says:

    texiera has been so bad that he was traded for stephen strasburg in my fantasy league….TWO WEEKS AGO.

    in any case, are people in favor of girardi moving texiera in the lineup? Everyone says that you should be able to put a struggling hitter in the 2 spot because the great hitters behind him will give him better pitches to see. Maybe try flip-flopping A-rod and Tex so that Tex has Cano “protecting” him in the lineup

    it’s tough because i don’t see anyone else taking the 3-spot if you took out tex. Cano perhaps?

    • mike c says:

      i’d make that trade tomorrow

    • pat says:

      I think the protection thing is wiggity wack. Arod isn’t good enough “protection” all of a sudden. There are a lot worse players being protected by much worse guys than Arod and they’re producing. He just needs to get his head on straight, he’ll be fine. I really don’t think protection has anything to do with it.

      • rbizzler says:

        Yuppers, agreed. There seems to have been an influx of old-school Joe Morgan types on here recently. What gives? All of this sanctifying of the almighty RBI and belief in the myth of protection has left me feeling a bit like I am in bizarro-RAB.

    • in any case, are people in favor of girardi moving texiera in the lineup?

      Are we still winning? Yes?

      Then no.

  8. Steve H says:

    I’m sure it’ll be a tremendously uncomfortable experience for him since he’s never faced a non-knuckleball pitcher throwing from the same side in his big league career

    Does anyone have any idea if switch-hitters occasionally take BP from the same side as the pitcher? I know they switch around for knuckleballers, and because they are switch hitters they may not want to use (somewhat) limited ab’s in BP to face a RHP right-handed and vice versa. Wasn’t sure if that’s a regular practice or totally ignored because it doesn’t really happen. I would guess that the Tampa Bay guys likely did in anticipation, but not sure in general.

  9. jim p says:

    He’s guessing and guessing wrong, is my guess. He had success all his career. Maybe he just needs to react more instead of guessing.

  10. Steve H says:

    RBI Opportunities

    Tex Runners on Base: 200 (95-74-31)
    ML Avg Runners on Base: 168 (82-56-29)

    This is why Tex is “producing” RBI.

    • rbizzler says:

      Oh, stop it with your fancy explanations for why Tex’s rate stats are suboptimal (Like that?! I didn’t say unacceptable did I?), but his raw RBI total is still respectable. Everyone here knows that scoring runs = winning games, and that an analysis of Tex’s RBI opportunities is worthless.

      All kidding aside, thanks for posting these as the number reinforce the understanding of RBI as an opportunity-based stat.

  11. thurdonpaul says:

    i guess this “slump” by Tex kinda ruins the thoughts from last year that Tex took off when A-rod came back last year because of the protection A-rod gave him.

  12. Captain Jack says:

    Okay this is overreacting quite a bit, Mark Teixeira has a .387 wOBA over 4900 PAs. I’d say he knows what he’s doing at the plate, combined with the fact that he’s hitting .220 as opposed to .280 where he is at in his career, I’d say he’s coming across quite a bit of bad luck…also consider the fact that his HR/FB ratio has dipped…I’m positive that he’ll turn it around. Why question him though? Joba Chamberlain’s pumping out more 92 MPH fastballs and fewer 98 MPH fastballs over the past two years than he did in 2007-2008, something that’s actually…y’know…not luck dependant and a huge cause of concern for a young pitcher, and everyone’s still showing faith in him. Alex Rodriguez went through countless awful post season games, everyone here stood by him then…chalked it up to SSS and realized that he’s a great hitter, eventually he’ll put up great post season numbers. Why not show Teixeira the same support, if he was hitting his career average and his BB% stayed the same and his SLG/BA ratio stayed the same he’d be OPSing .900.

    • Steve H says:

      I agree with the context of your comment that Tex will be fine, but I don’t think that Mike said otherwise. He’s simply pointing out an area where Tex is clearly struggling and what he might do to shake things up. People change their batting stances regularly when they are slumping, as they develop some bad habits along the way. While considering having Tex hit same handed against changeup pitchers is a litte more unorthodox, it’s not a “the sky is falling” mentality. I know Tex will hit again. Hell, I just offered Ubaldo for him in my fantasy league. If you just go through the status quo when slumping that “he’ll revert back to his norms”, then I don’t see why guys pore over video or even have hitting coaches at all. If you’re in a slump, there is nothing wrong with being proactive in trying to get out of it, and that’s all I read from the post.

      • Captain Jack says:

        I get that, but…Mark Teixeira is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, the changes in approach to the change are pretty drastic…I’d say what he’s doing to get himself here is fine, and issue caution against any huge changes. Mainly though, I just don’t see why a guy with a track record as great his gets an article suggesting a change in approach and calling it “unacceptable” and saying that it can’t go on for much longer…but Joba’s 93 MPH fastballs get an article of encouragement suggesting patience “young pitchers struggle,” “he’s only 24,” etc. etc. However, the established superstar gets articles with a much more…how do I say this “alarmed” tone.

        I mean if caution and restraint is your style, fine…but I don’t see how showing restraint in some situations where actual concern may be legitimate but not in situations that are really luck dependent is reasonable.

        However, that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong or misreading the articles.

        • rbizzler says:

          Oh, so this is really about Joba? I am impressed that you managed to work Joba into an article about Tex’s struggles against the change. Bravo.

          Once again, Mike’s post is in no way disparaging Tex. Rather, he is looking deeper into his struggles at the plate in the early portion of the season.

          • Captain Jack says:

            Okay…fist off, this isn’t about Joba at all. With the way that Hughes has been pitching I could give a shit less about him. This is about the discrepancies in covering two players that are struggling. I just got done studying my ass off for the LSAT so forgive me if I’m a massive prick that’s hypersensitive to small parts of the language of the article, there’s several statements in there that lend an overall negative tone to the article:

            “If you’ve watched the Yankees at all this year and last, you’ve surely noticed that first baseman Mark Teixeira has had an exceptionally tough time against changeups in 2010. This was particularly obvious last Saturday, when he looked helpless in striking out five times against changeup specialists Ricky Romero and Casey Janssen. The advanced metrics are picking up on Tex’s weakness against changeups as well, saying he’s been worth 0.58 runs below average against the pitch (for every 100 seen) this season compared to 0.88 runs above average last year and an even 1.00 for his career.”

            That lends a pretty negative tone with words like “helpless” and “exceptionally tough” to just name a few. Also citing advanced metrics regarding his struggles to point out just how badly he’s been and where he’s been bad…but not once citing the advanced metrics to show that he’s ran into bad luck.

            Also with quotes such as this:

            “The struggles against changeups carry over to the fastball as well, which is expected given the relationship between the two pitches.”

            “The season isn’t young anymore, we’re 59 games in and Tex is hitting an unacceptable .224-.338-.388. Maybe it’s time to (forgive the pun) change things up and try something not necessarily drastic, but unique”

            and lastly this:

            “How much longer can they wait though?”

            The approach is very matter of fact, and somewhat objective…but the tone is overall, very negative.

            Compared to a recent article about another struggling Yankee, Joba Chamberlain (sorry to bring him into this, I really am…but luckily enough for us there’s only two noteworthy Yankees that are struggling…I’m pretty sure no one gives a fuck about Chad Gaudin)

            In “Trusting Joba Chamberlain in Critical Spots” you can read it and look at the tone, it’s very encouraging and for the most part objective and matter of fact:

            “This asks the question of whether the Yankees can trust Joba.

            His recent performances and 5.26 season ERA might say no, but despite the recent blips Joba has put together a quality season. His strikeout rate is at 10.52 per nine and his walk rate is the lowest it has been since 2007″

            “The first number that stands out is Joba’s BABIP, .380. His mark has always trended high, .332 in 2008 and .320 in 2009. Yet even those numbers are far below his current .380 mark. It’s not like hitters are making considerably better contact, as his line drive rate is 19.4 percent, about two percentage points lower than last year, while his groundball rate is 48.6 percent, almost six points better than last season. Maybe hitters are making better contact on the ground and finding the hole more easily. Other than that, the only better explanation for his BABIP is bad luck.”

            and lastly this:

            “His strand rate also sticks out. At 56.6 percent, he’s among the league trailers. As expected, this comes from poor numbers with men on base. With the bases empty Joba has struck out 14 of the 48 batters he’s faced, 29 percent, while striking out just 16 of the 62 batters he has faced with men on, 26 percent. He has also walked a few more with men on base. What also stands out is his groundball rate with men on . That’s just 39 percent, against 61.3 percent with no one on. Unsurprisingly this has led to more extra base hits with men on base, five, than with the bases empty, one.”

            Citing the typical “shit happens” stats, which yes, I agree he has gotten extremely unlucky…and should improve from here on out. However, where were the “shit happens” stats with Teixeira? Why not look at his .239 BABIP or his 12% (compred to a 19 career%) HR/FB ratio? Instead they take a deeper look into his struggles…fine, that’s completely warranted. However, when other noteworthy Yankees, like a Joba Chamberlain, are struggling where is the mention that in 2010 that 36 percent of his fastballs are 93 or lower compared to 4% in 2008-2007 and that this year he’s only throwing 4% of of his fastballs 98 or higher compared to 47% of his fastballs in 2008-2007…that can explain his struggles in the bullpen much like Mark Teixeira’s change up rates can explain his struggles. I’m not complaining about Chamberlain one bit here, I’m asking why is the tone of Teixeira’s article different than the tone of Chamberlain’s articles. I realize that Joba Chamberlain is a lightning rod for controversy and gets killed so much in the typical NYY media outlets that anytime you say something bad about him it almost sounds like you agree with people who haven’t fully evolved like Steve Phillips or Mike Francessa. I also realize that most Yankee fans, including myself…I even have a 62 authentic…bought it in 2008, have an insane love for Joba Chamberlain and while they’re at school they write JC + their initials on their notebooks and draw big hearts around them. I regret that I have to bring him into this, if another Yankee was struggling and the tone was overall positive to his struggles I’d use him as an example. However, the last Yankee that was really struggling was Derek Jeter and the tone in his article was “has age finally caught up with him?” which was completely warranted, he’s very old for his position. I’m mainly concerned with why:

            A.) The tone is so negative, compared to other struggling Yankees.

            and

            B.) Why his flukishly low HR/FB ratio and BABIP weren’t mentioned, in a small sample size like 60 games those and other numbers can get flukishly low.

            Once again, I’m not trying to be off topic here, I’m just wondering why the tone is so overall negative here for such an established player.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          However, that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong or misreading the articles.

          I think you are just misreading the tone of the articles. Tex could be struggling for any reason, but he is struggling. I don’t think it’s unfair to point that out. Joba isn’t getting paid over $20 million a year like Tex, so while I’m 99.9% sure Tex will come out of it (possibly even not til next year), there’s still reason to be somewhat concerned when you have a guy for 6.5 more years at A LOT of money.

          • Captain Jack says:

            My reply right above this explains the cause of misreading the tone of the articles, and the salary argument is perfectly legit.

            As far as struggles over long term contracts there’s another lightning rod Yankee who is somewhat struggling whose struggles maybe be a bit less luck induced than Teixeira’s that also happens to be locked up…though I’m also confident that he’ll continue mashing ;)

            Sorry for going off topic again.

            • rbizzler says:

              First, good luck on the LSAT.

              Second, I think that we all can agree that analyzing a reliever and a everyday position player are two vastly different exercises. That post, IIRC, sought to emphasize that despite Joba’s inflated ERA, he actually has not pitched that badly.

              While I will agree that Mike’s post did smack of being frustrated with Tex, he was not disparaging the player. Judging a reliever after only a handful of innings is shortsighted but looking at a hitter’s performance against a specific pitch (and how he fairs against that pitch in combination with a standard complimentary pitch) is a perfectly rational exercise. Especially when he has struggles against pitchers who feature that specific pitch or pitch combo.

              Also, you are right to cite Tex’s Babip stats as an indication that he should turn things around.

              • Captain Jack says:

                Well the first thing it was on Monday…but it’s the thought that counts.

                Second, well…perhaps he has, the declining velocity is an issue…before if he got into trouble he would reach back and face fuck a batter with a nasty 99 MPH fastball and get out of any jam he’s ever gotten himself into. Since he’s a young pitcher, and the most common issue with young phenoms is health, the velocity is an issue for a number of reasons. Also the fact that his slider isn’t fooling as many batters as it used to. Much like the fact that the league may have found Teixeira’s Achilles heel in the change up, the league may be able to beat Joba with a lesser fastball. Much like it’s rational and prudent to bring up Teixeira’s struggles against the change, it’s equally rational and prudent to bring up the fact that Joba’s plus plus heat is barely even average anymore…let alone the plus pitch if he’s ever going to have a chance to turn out to be who we thought he was.

                I never said he was disparaging him, just the overall tone towards his struggles wasn’t the rational “he’s going to break out of it” like it was towards Joba.

  13. nsalem says:

    Considering Mark’s HOF type track record and that of the 29 games till the all star break 14 of them are against teams with .400 or below records I would give him the month to straighten himself out, which I am quite confident he will do.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Steve H says:
      June 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      I agree with the context of your comment that Tex will be fine, but I don’t think that Mike said otherwise. He’s simply pointing out an area where Tex is clearly struggling and what he might do to shake things up. People change their batting stances regularly when they are slumping, as they develop some bad habits along the way. While considering having Tex hit same handed against changeup pitchers is a litte more unorthodox, it’s not a “the sky is falling” mentality. I know Tex will hit again. Hell, I just offered Ubaldo for him in my fantasy league. If you just go through the status quo when slumping that “he’ll revert back to his norms”, then I don’t see why guys pore over video or even have hitting coaches at all. If you’re in a slump, there is nothing wrong with being proactive in trying to get out of it, and that’s all I read from the post.

      Amazing how the exact same reply can apply to two comments in a row.

  14. Jorge says:

    I wish the numbers looked better. Yes. In his year-plus with this team, one of the things I’ve come to appreciate about Teixeira the most is that, no matter what the bat looks like, he never stops from absolutely bringing in defensively at first. Love him. Will love him if he finishes with a .230 BA this season.

  15. YankeesJunkie says:

    There have been compounding issues that have really hurt Tex this year. First and foremost is he is not hitting the as stated in this entry. Where he was well over 2 FB/C the last three years he is at -.5 FB/C this year, that is going to have to change and probably will. Secondly, Tex has been a facing a BABIP of .240 compared to his usual BABIP of .310 which is a huge difference and has shown that he has not been lucky at all. However, these are the type of numbers that point that Tex could have a huge rest of the season because a hitter of Tex’s quality does not usually stay down this long, I expect his numbers will look much better come end of season.

  16. Guest says:

    I think breaking out people’s number against certain pitches can be helpful, but don’t we create a rather large SSS problem when we do so for a small portion of the season? I mean if Tex were to go 4 for 4 of change-ups tonight, wouldn’t his season WAR against the pitch change drastically?

    In other words, this is a SSS created blip rather than a meaningful change in Tex’s ability to hit a change up. Also, the Maddon idea is intriguing, but again subject to SSS and way too many other variables. (How comfortable is Zobrist hitting against same-handed pitchers v. How comfortable would Tex be? How bad does the change-up pitchers other pitches have to be for the move to make sense?).

    Look, Tex is what he is. I know we’re more than a third of the way through the season and he still hasn’t produced. Maybe he won’t produce and this will just be a bad season. But the overwhelming odds are, unless there is an injury we don’t know about, he will produce numbers much more like his previous 4900 PAs than he his last 200. We shouldn’t mess with things.

    Remember, Mattingly and Ripken didn’t start changing their stances every week until their ability reduced. If you’re a great player who is slumping, keep doing what you did to make yourself great.

    • Sure, it’s a small sample. Everything this season is a small sample. That doesn’t mean that we can throw the results out. They might not be predictive, but they’re still indicative of what did happen, no matter what the sample.

      It’s clear that Tex is struggling on the change. Pitcher throws it in the dirt, he swings. We’ve noticed it, and the stats bear it out. It is a clear problem.

      Now, the question is of whether it will just go away on its own, or if something needs to change. As we creep closer to the half-way mark, I think the needle starts tilting toward the latter. Because pretty soon we’re not going to be able to say SSS any more.

      • mike c says:

        yeah but you’re talking like he’s not hitting at all. he’s brought his average up more or less 10 points since last week. if he was hitting poorly in this series maybe but on tuesday he went 3-3 with a HR and 2 BB’s. if anything momentum is on his side

      • Sure, it’s a small sample. Everything this season is a small sample.

        Except for me, of course.

        Sincerely,
        tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada a/k/a Your Favorite Pundit’s Favorite Pundit a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      • Captain Jack says:

        Because pretty soon we’re not going to be able to say SSS any more.

        Gotta be an aSSShole and disagree with this…a full season can also be a small sample size…see Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher circa 2008.

      • Guest says:

        You’re right, it is clear that Tex has struggled with the change. No doubt. My point is: does this mean that Tex is a different hitter against the change-up now than he has been his whole career? Maybe he is. Maybe he is having vision problems that are too subtle for him to notice yet. Maybe there is an injury we haven’t heard about.

        But presuming Tex is healthy and nothing has changed materially from last year, I would posit that, more likely than not, he is the same hitter against change-ups he has been his whole career. In which case, he is either going through a “slump” against the pitch or hitting into bad luck against the pitch. We just don’t have enough data to conclusively come to the conclusion that Tex has significantly and permanently regressed against the change-up.

        Further, if we don’t think Tex’ numbers so far in 2010 against the change are likely to be predictive of future results (as you note), then I don’t think it makes sense to have Tex make such a drastic change to his hitting approach. He likely hasn’t hit same-handed against a non-knuckleball pitcher in his entire professional career. I think taking him out of his long established comfort zone change will likely lead to more harm than good.

        All this said, I think Mike’s post is very interesting/informative and the hitting same-handed against pitchers with great changes is a creative idea. I just don’t think, all things considered, its something that Tex should actually do.

        • I don’t disagree with any of your points. I just wanted to make one quick note: No one is suggesting that Tex actually do this. It’s an interesting idea, though, even more so because there is a team actually doing it. So, because Tex is struggling against the change and there is a manager who has implemented a new tactic to defend against the change, it makes for an interesting juxtaposition.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      SSS!

      /Jammy Jammers’d

  17. Wow, the Rbi love on this thread by some people is dumbfounding.

  18. Captain Jack says:

    Also worth noting, for all of Teixeira’s struggles he’s still OPS+ing 99…

    • mike c says:

      finally a nugget– that, and the defense

      • Steve H says:

        OPS+’ing 99 is fine if you’re an up the middle player playing good defense and hitting 6th in the lineup.

        • Captain Jack says:

          Never said it was fine…but it’s not like he’s replacement level or anything, he’s still close to the averageish first basemen…not that that’s the kind of production that the Yankees are paying for. Just sayin…

          • Steve H says:

            Oh I agree. He’s been about a league average bat which is far from terrible, unless you’re Mark Teixeira.

          • forensicnucchem says:

            I know it’s way late, but that OPS+ does not mean that he’s closed to the averageish first baseman. It means he’s close to the averageish player.

            His sOPS+ as a first baseman is 80, which means he’s been a well below average first baseman.

            • Captain Jack says:

              Well that and defense, makes him somewhat close to average…also that average OPS+ for first basemen needs to be looked at in the context of the average OPS+ for first basemen over the past few years…which is a bit lower.

  19. forensicnucchem says:

    And as a response to the many times it was said it’s ok if he struggles since we’re winning:

    We’re not playing terribly, but we haven’t won a series against a non-Minnesota team with a winning record since early May. And only won one since mid-late April.

    Eventually they’re going to need the big names to produce like they’re used to in order to beat the winning teams.

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