Food For Thought: Mark Teixeira

Categories : Players


  1. Josh says:

    about where we thought he was, right?

  2. Mike HC says:

    Hopefully it doesn’t go down like that, but as you plainly laid out, it might.

  3. Jesus Montero's Brain says:

    Ouch. Back to reality, oops there goes gravity.

  4. 27time champs says:

    Troubling. The physical breakdowns this season. The ultra slow start. He’s won a championship with the Yankees, so its better than Jason Giambi. But still troubling.

  5. jsbrendog says:

    wow olerud had 3 reeeeeally good yrs

  6. woainidepigu says:

    So…we’re basically just saying Teixeira is a good baseball player who is due for a slight uptick in WAR this upcoming season before declining in performance through the end of his tenure in pinstripes.

    On another note, Olerud had some ridiculously productive peak years…

  7. ultimate913 says:

    It’s okay. 2009 was worth it, I guess.

  8. Kyle says:

    You had to deliver this after watching Army get embarrassed again? Thanks.

  9. AndrewYF says:

    Did anyone expect Mark Teixeira to have a first-ballot shoe-in Hall of Fame career?

    Fred McGriff is actually quite an apt comparison. $20M can’t buy what it used to.

    • Eric Young says:

      “first-ballot shoe-in Hall of Fame career”

      In his last five full seasons, at age 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35, Gehrig had averaged 8.5 WAR.

      It was a fall-off from his age 23 through 30 seasons when he averaged a 9.5 WAR (amazingly, Gehrig went eleven consecutive seasons with a WAR between 7.0 and 12.0).

  10. Mu says:

    Why those two comps?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      No particular reason, just that their career WAR graphs line up well (click the link). It took a few iterations.

      • Steve H says:

        Olerud and Tex have identical OPS+ thru their age 30 seasons too. McGriff blows them both away.

      • Eric Young says:

        I glanced at Hernandez, McCovey, Helton, Foxx, Bagwell and Murray. Almost to a man, each had peaked – at least by the measure of WAR – by the end of their 31st year. Except for Foxx, who had began mixing big years with sub-par ones, each experienced a marked decline immediately upon reaching 32.

        1B seems to be a more brutal position than I had heretofore thought it to be.

  11. mbonzo says:

    I think theres more of a chance that incarcerated bob getting a rumor right than Teixeira declining like that. He’s just got too much talent power-wise compared to Olerud, he’d be a better comparison to McGriff, who really wasn’t that healthy of a player around Teix’s age.

  12. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Does Olreud and McGriff’s defense get accounted in these stats? I know Mark is a “poor” defender (laughable) and his WAR numbers are downgraded because of it.

  13. Amol says:

    Mike, wht made you choose Olerud and McGriff for your comparison? Baseball-Reference has his top two comparables through age thirty as Carlos Delgado, which is just as bad, and Jeff Bagwell, which is less scary. McGriff is third while Olerud doesn’t appear at all.

    • Steve H says:

      Those comps on b-ref are spotty though, don’t they only look at raw numbers?

      • Amol says:

        That’s a fair point, but I think they’re the best we have at the moment. Baseball Prospectus lists his top three comparables as Eddie Murray, Boog Powell and Todd Helton, but I don’ think they’ve included 2010 in those stats. Either way, it works out the same, with one really good comp (Bagwell and Murray) and two not so good.

  14. Ellis says:

    This inspired me to compare two all-time great shortstops: Jeter and Ripken

    You might be surprised who was consistently more valuable.

    • AndrewYF says:

      Considering that we don’t really have any idea how good Ripken was on defense, WAR numbers for older players don’t really make too much sense.

      If Jeter played in the 70s, he’d be considered one of the best defensive shortstops of all time.

      • Thomas says:

        Baseball projection’s TZ has Ripken Jr. grading out very well with a 141 TZ over his career.


      • MikeD says:

        Unlikely he’d be considered one of the best defensive shortstops of all time. He would have been considered an okay defensive SS. I’m sure the media might have declared him a great defensive player, but the teams have a pretty good grasp on this.

        Just like today, teams do scout their own players and are quite well aware of their strengths and limitations. They don’t broadcast those opinions freely in the media, and for damn good reasons. That does not mean they don’t know, or that fans are smarter than the people running the teams (well, most of them!). Look no further than Torre’s Yankee Years book where it’s referenced that they knew Jeter did not range well to his left.

        I don’t think most fans of sabermetrics realize that no MLB team bases their decisions on the defensive abilities of players on the freely available defensive stats we all see. I’m not talking about teams with their heads in the sand (like, seemingly, the Royals for the last twenty years!), but even the stats-driven clubs, like the Red Sox and the A’s. They have their own internal defensive ratings, which they couple with scouting to make determinations.

        I guess my point is they have a better idea today on where a specific player might rate, but certainly were capable of rating players. The 1960s/1970s was an offensivly depressed period, with teams putting great emphasis on defense. That’s why the Mark Belanger’s and Ed Brinkman’s of the world held jobs. Jeter would have been turned into a CFer if he came up in the 70s.

    • noseeum says:

      This one’s tough for me. Basically, Jeter, Arod, and Nomar would never have been allowed to play short if it wasn’t for Ripken. They would have been moved to third.

      I don’t know how to score something like that for Ripken. At the time he played, replacement level SS was so terrible offensively, it made Ripken look just ridiculous compared to all of his peers except Barry Larkin.

      If you compare them by wOBA, Jeter was clearly the better offensive player:;type=full

      Defense is tough, and I would concede Ripken was better defensively, but by how much who knows? A lot of the WAR difference has to do with the R for replacement. I just don’t know if you can give Ripken that much credit for being compared to a bunch of all glove no bat types. He should get some, I just don’t know how much.

  15. Steve H says:

    I’d like to see just the oWAR due to the unreliable nature of defensive metrics for 1st baseman. A lot of Olerud’s WAR value was related to defense. Conversely McGriff lost a lot of value for his defense. I think McGriff is the better comp for Tex offensively as well, similar HR power that Olerud never had.

  16. bottom line says:

    Hopefully, Crawford and A-Gon are about to to begin their long declines too.

    • MikeD says:

      They’re both 29, so they should be at peak for at least a couple seasons.

      I’d rather they have rapid, fast declines, instead of long declines. : -)

  17. Wil Nieves #1 Fan says:

    We get it…Giambi sucked.

  18. CP says:

    So the expectation would be about 3 WAR per season over the next 6 years? That sounds pretty reasonable.

    It’s also interesting that McGriff and Olerud’s charts overlay so well, but actually have very different shapes. McGriff peaked early (age 24-25) and had a gradual decline from there. Olerud was a pretty stable 3-4 win player from age 22 through age 34, with 2 exceptional years in there and then a rapid drop off.

  19. Mac says:

    Nice little comparison here. Hopefully Tex’s later start in the majors prolongs his “prime” years a little bit. I would also give Tex the advantage of the glove which can hopefully help maintain a nice .WAR when he is in the last few seasons of his contract.

  20. bonestock94 says:

    Eh, not what I’m hoping for.

  21. Doesn’t really concern me, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.

  22. Hughesus Christo says:

    For such “serious business” the sabr community seems more than willing to toss all scientific guidelines aside when anything “interesting” might result.

  23. Ghost says:

    I’ve always been intrigued with the debate on whether Mcgriff belongs in the hall of fame, and I always love to see people’s arguements for it and against it. I grew up when he was playing and I think he serves to be in the hall of fame imo. On the flip, alot of people probably overlook the fact that Olerud was also one of the best 1b in baseball during the same time in their primes and if you consider his superior defense, you could probab ly make an arguement that they were equal in value of all round performance.

    Look at their carees: They are essentially the same player in WAR, AVG, OPS. The only difference is Mcgriff’s power which he was far superior than Olerud in.

    • MikeD says:

      If we believe he was PED-free, he’s probably being hurt by the generation he played.

      It strikes me that over the past 25 years, there have been quite a few, high-quality 1Bmen to play the game. I’ve never seen a study or took a look, but I think we might have just gone through a golden age for 1B. I’ve watched baseball long enough to not assume that will continue. If that’s the case, McGriff’s chances may increase as time goes by.

      Last, imagine if he was never traded away from the Yankees. He’d have made 500+ HRs easy, and he’d be on his way to the Hall.

  24. vin says:

    Olerud was underrated. McGriff is who we though he was. (/denny green’d) Teixeira was born in the right era.

  25. MikeD says:

    I don’t view Olerud and Teixeira as similiar type hitters or body types. Can’t read much in at least that comparison.

  26. TJ says:

    What about Carlos Delgado on that chart as comparison.

    • TJ says:

      Delgado at 36 had 115 RBIs and 38 HRs that was 2008. The years prior he was consistently at, around or over 30 HE and 100 RBIs. Tex had a poor start to last year but still had a 30/100 year. With his defense I think if you get 30/100 out of him till the mid thirties that’s acceptable. The AROD decline is probably more worrisome given the contract, health and age.

      • Mike Myers says:

        Gotta agree with you here. Arod may have a big time bounce back in him though. Full season off with the hip healing. However, the hip could get chronic and be the end. Time will tell….

  27. Beamish says:

    The moral of that graph: Make sure you become a Free Agent at Age 29.

  28. Leo in Houston says:

    If the Yanks don’t get Cliff Lee they will trade 7 of their top 10 prospects to compete with the Red Sox.

  29. Slugger27 says:

    unless it contains the team he’s picked, i don’t wanna read any more lee updates to be honest

  30. MattG says:

    This is a scary graph, much like something you would find in Stark’s ‘musings.’

    Will we have a comparison with two other first baseman that suddenly improved next? Ala Scott Boras?

  31. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    I just put Pujols as the 4th player on that graph.


  32. MattG says:

    Love this tool. Here’s another chart for your consumption. A little bit more rosy, but basically the same:

  33. Andrew518 says:

    I’m sick of these graphs…
    I love baseball for its statistics and comparison but the rapidness in which WAR has come to represent the value a player’s “worth” is too much for me. I’ve got nothing against “new” metrics and stats but as with any formula you can manipulate numbers to be anything you want to prove. No doubt a useful tool but does it really mean anything?
    I’m sick of these graphs…

    • MikeD says:

      Some of the stats are good, some are not.

      There used to be something called TPR, which I thought was pretty weak, yet it’s defenders swore by it. WAR will be replaced too.

  34. brian g says:

    i’d take any of three in a heart beat. oddly enough, the other dudes were yankees at one point or another as well. mcgriff got drafted by the yanks and olerud nearly played out the end of his career obviously…and i gotta say i loved seeing him with the yankees that year. he did some great things that season. hopefully tex ages more like mcgriff though…that’s a lot of homers and RBI to look forward to.

  35. Shaun says:

    I’ll take that, he’s only got 5 yrs on his contract left, if he ages like that McGriff, I’ll take that one crappy year at the end.

  36. delv says:

    WAR for firstbasemen is a joke, because of the defensive stats as they’re incorporated into it. By the way, is this fangraphs WAR or b-ref?

  37. Jonathan says:

    Ya i agree that WAR is very sketchy with 1st basemen. A lot of very great baseball minds (Bill James/Keith Law etc) see him as an ELITE 1st baseman defensively. Secondly, while his terrible start was worse than usual, he was on a great rebound until those injuries took him down at the end of the season. They seemed to be freak injuries as well. Even when slumping, he still has patience and can draw a walk. Using a metric that continually uses UZR which rates Teixeira well below where most people have him doesn’t seem like a good way to compare 1B. I have full confidence in him going forward and would love to see how he stacks up when his defense is properly added into the equation. Even using average defense is an insult and when you think that he’s well below average on that scale, it really weighs his value improperly.

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