The importance of a hot start for Teixeira


(Charles Krupa/AP)

Even though we heard it when the Yankees signed him, and even though we’ve witnessed it for the past two seasons, it’s still hard to simply accept Mark Teixeira‘s slow starts. The team counts on him as one of its best hitters, and while he can apparently be that player from May through October, for the past four seasons he has turned in terrible Aprils. This year, though, the Yankees need offense in April more than ever, and a present Teixeira would go a long way towards racking up that run total.

The thing is, the Yankees don’t even need Teixeira to be great in April. He has been so bad the last two Aprils that even his second-worst month’s numbers would suffice. If he can do even that, it would go a long way to the Yankees opening up the season hot on offense. Again, that might be more important than in the past, since the pitching staff carries more questions this season. Furthermore, it will mean a more productive season overall. Here’s what Teixeira’s numbers would look like if we substituted his September 2010 for April 2010, and his July 2009 for April 2009:

Note: I used the same number of PA Tex had in April and reverse engineered the counting stats.

The 2010 change is particularly notable, because Teixeira’s second worst month last year was pretty putrid: .220/.346/.349 in 133 September PA. Of course, that was a monster month compared to his .136/.300/.259 April. You can imagine how those numbers would look had we substituted even his .250/.353/.460 June instead. These slow starts are absolutely killing Teixeira’s seasons, and they’re hurting the team’s ability to jump out to an early lead in April.

Maybe this is the year he breaks his four-year curse. After all, in 2006 he hit .293/.391/.495 in April. He’s a different hitter now, of course, so maybe that’s no longer possible. Still, even something along the lines of his April 2005 — .262/.321/.485 — would be a welcome sight this year. With some questions on the pitching staff and another tight AL East race on the horizon, the Yanks could sure use it.

Categories : Offense
  • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

    Tex’s worst month is April, his second worst month is September and he’s struggled mightily in October (SSS). Could his problems just be weather related instead of preparation or switch hitting related? Maybe he just doesn’t do well in the cold. We know he’s an extremely hard worker, so it’s not like he doesn’t work during the offseason.

    • Mike HC

      Tex has a career .962 OPS in September. And was at 1.081 in 2009. I don’t think September is really a problem for him. And in 46 October regular season at bats, his OPS is 1.030. So the weather didn’t have much of an effect on those at bats. Nobody particularly loves hitting in the cold, but I don’t think that is the cause of his problems.

      • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

        Fail on my part. Looked at the wrong splits. I’ll DFA myself.

  • Mike HC

    Guys that get off to slow starts seem to garner more attention for their troubles, and get more shit for it, then guys who finish weak. Finishing strong is far more important, especially for a perennial playoff team like the Yanks. Not saying he should not try to get off to better starts, but I don’t think it is as big a deal as some might think. Just more noticeable for whatever reason. Last year was a particularly down year for him all around, and he was still one of the best players in baseball.

    • Mike Myers


      Half the game is 90% mental. Dont forget the wise words.

      • Ryan

        so the game is 45% mental?

        • Mike HC

          I thought you just needed to put 180% into the game

          • Ryan

            not possible

            • Mike HC

              You’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.

              • Mike Myers

                I once put in 110% effort. Turns out I was on HGH.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    Throws changeup

    Swings violently over the top

  • YankeesJunkie

    I found it interesting that even with September added to his stats instead of April of 2009 his OBP and SLG don’t change that much.

  • CS Yankee

    Good to hear that he is taking extra BP to improve his LHB this offseason.

    I would think with the way he ended last year (coupled with the silly Pujois questions), that he will rake early and often.

    Good to hear that Arod is fit, Jete’ has made adjustments, and Teix is ready to resume his SH dominance. The bench and ‘pen are about the best on paper already, the OF is amongst the best and you gotta believe that SP will be corrected one way or another.

    2011 looks great (so far).

    • YankeesJunkie

      I will be interested to see how the fift starter competition plays out. It could get real interesting if Colon is actually throwing it 94.

      • Ryan

        fifth starter will get tricky this year. people keep saying that we cant do worse than vazquez, but there was a stretch from May 12 to the All-Star Break that Javy threw 72 innings of 2.75 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and a 0.958 WHIP. I don’t know if any of our candidates can do that

        • Mike HC

          Plenty of shitty pitchers have gone on hot streaks, and basically imploded in every other start. It is more than possible.

        • CS Yankee

          Those 7-8 weeks were great, but we just need the 5th to get 6 innings of 3-run ball, 25 times this year.

          However, if your pointing out the fact that Javy was the 4th (Hughes the 5th)…then if AJ pitches like 2010, we will be hurting in a bad way.

          The bats, gloves and pen are clearly top 5 in the majors…if SP just comes in the top 12; we should be alright (less postseason of course).

      • CS Yankee

        If Colon is on & Garcia looks decent, I hope they start with Nova in SWB.

        Bart or Freddy are highly unlikely to stay healthy and having Nova pitch 6-8 every fifth day in AAA would be better than him taking Mitre’s irregular innings.

        Nova, Noesi, Phelps & Brackman all seem to be solid callups as needed so they can all compete in AAA until the day and hang with Jesus.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          Nova, Noesi, Phelps & Brackman
          Add Banuelos and Betances, right there you could literally have a starting staff for 2012 or 13…

          • Monteroisdinero

            Scranton wins again. Take it to the bank!

  • Ryan

    What about Joba in Mitre’s role? Let him pitch multiple innings so he can make spot starts and if he thrives eventually transition him back into the rotation. Let him earn it.

    • CS Yankee

      I might of gotten us off-topic.

      Teix…please rake in April (and so on)

      NYY fans everywhere

      Joba & Drob just needs to own the high leverage situations in the 6th & 7th and make it a 5-inning ballgame.

    • nsalem

      Unfortunately this idea wreaks of common sense and shall never come to pass.

  • A.D.

    He’s a different hitter now

    How is Tex significantly different?

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    I just hope the offense as a whole doesn’t become so neutralized vs the changeup like they did last year.

    • Monteroisdinero

      First time starters against us who have a good changeup…..we should forfeit.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Cano CARRIED us last year in the early going. We win as a TEAM. Please bat the guy in the first inning.

    Think outside the Chalupa Joe. Tex can handle it. When he heats up, put him back to 3rd.

  • Greg C

    I am pretty sure the 2010 Improved “After” SLG should not be .392. I am assuming from the OPS that it should be .492.

    • http://www.google.com/ Lefty

      A minute saved is a minute eanerd, and this saved hours!