Missing: Mark Teixeira’s walks

4/30-5/2 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles
Pettitte gives up six runs in latest minor league start
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Answer: Jerome Williams.
Question: Who was the last pitcher to walk Mark Teixeira?

It’s been 52 plate appearances since Teixeira last drew a walk, dating all the way back to the final game of the home-opener series against the Angels. He’d drawn five walks in his previous 38 plate appearances, a 13.2% walk rate that isn’t completely out of line with the 11.5% career walk rate he brought into the season. But since then, nothing. Tex hasn’t drawn a walk or even been hit by a pitch — something he’s quite good at, actually — since his plate appearance against Williams more than two full weeks ago.

Sample sizes are one of the biggest analytical dangers this early in the season, but swing and contact rates are the very first thing to stabilize. They only take 50-75 plate appearances to even out. Teixeira is at 90 plate appearances at the moment, so we can start to draw some conclusions from his swing tendencies and performance even though it’s still only April. Here’s a look at his swing and contact rates, courtesy of FanGraphs

Right off the bat you can see that Teixeira is not only swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone than ever before (30.5%), he’s also making more contact with those pitches as well (75.5%). That’s a great recipe for not drawing walks. His swing rate on pitches in the zone (60.5%) is pretty normal compared to recent years, though his contact rate on those offerings is a touch high (94.9%). That’s why Teixeira has struck out in just 11.1% of his plate appearances, a career-low by several percentage points.

We have an idea of why Teixeira hasn’t been drawing walks lately, but why has he been swinging at more pitches out of the zone? That’s not something we can answer here, it could be a countless number of different reasons. Maybe he’s pressing, maybe he’s swinging at more pitches on the outside corner in an effort to go the other way, or maybe it’s one of a million other things. Teixeira’s latest slump — 2-for-24 with no extra-base hits — has dragged his season line down to .229/.278/.386, so the lack of walks is just one piece of the problem. Plate discipline is the root of offensive performance, and right now Tex’s isn’t where it should be.

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4/30-5/2 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles
Pettitte gives up six runs in latest minor league start
  • forensic

    Tex sure does seem to make it easy for you guys to keep writing articles about his issues. What would you do without him?

  • JoeyA

    Last 100M+ contract to ever work out:

    Derek Jeter 10yrs/189M

    Texeira is slowly creeping towards being just as big a drag on the payroll as Alex.

    He has regressed to a point where only a Granderson-esque adjustment can save him from being no better than Carlos Pena. Great defender and a totally one-dimensional hitter.

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

      Manny, A-Rod, Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Sabathia…

      • JoeyA

        Sorry, I should have noted I was referring to Yankee contracts. I did omit CC.

        Did Pujols & Alex have 100M contracts prior to the Angels & Texas contracts, respectively?

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

          Pujols had a $100M deal with the Cards. A-Rod’s first deal with Texas was a smashing success, almost impossible to look at it any other way.

        • Guest

          ARod’s first 100M K (252M one), as EGREGIOUS as it seemed at the time, actually worked out quite swimmingly.

          At least in terms of the production A-Rod provided in return for the contract.

          Between 2000 and 2010, A-Rod provided the Rangers and Yanks with: Three MVPs, great defense at short, very good defense at third, historic offensive production, an amazing playoff run for a World Series champion, and, I believe, a partridge in a pear tree.

          Arod’s second 100M contract…seems like it’s going to be less productive. Just a smidge.

          • #28 in 2012

            At least we get to see Arod’s quest to 700 hr. No consolation with Tex at all. Off all contracts, I wish this was the one that “got away”. Red Sox wanted him so badly, he could have been another one of Theo’s shitty contracts, but Cash out ninja’d the wonder-boy. Cant stand Tex. Does anyone know why Grandy or Swish still batting behind this bum in a 6 hole? wtf, Joe, slide his ass down to 8 or 9. Wasting valuable at bats with Mr. Shift.

            • rogue

              Without Tex, the Yankees wouldn’t have won the WS in 2009.

              Another thing about Tex, even when he struggled for much of that postseason, he still was a factor on defense.

              Unlike Giambi, who was a known liability at 1B to the opposition.

  • infernoscurse

    just his walks?

    • Brian S.

      ^ This. Teixeira is a bum. I can’t believe we are paying him over 23 million through 2016.

  • Stevis

    Missing: Tex
    Can’t Long fix him???????????????

  • https://twitter.com/#!/amurillo91 Anthony Murillo

    I have faith he’ll bounce back but he’s been pretty brutal to watch at the plate at the moment.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    May 1st: Mark Teixiera’s best friend.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    His eyes start bulging and bulging and….he has to swing at ball 4.

  • Gil L

    Tex is going through Adan Dunn-ification.
    Very long swing, reduced bat speed.
    That is who is.
    Four more years!!

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Teix sure has become the Yankees whipping boy with Burnett gone.

    • ADam

      Have you seen his at bats this year. He looks awful and I mean dreadful at the plate.
      1st He’s not good enough to be as selective as he is.(He needs to start swinging at that 1st pitch more)
      2nd He was suppose to come into camp in the best shape of his life, and looks like hes 42, not 32
      3rd Teams have his number, he has to be one of the most predictable hitters in baseball

      • Need Pitching

        1) did you read the article? it appears his biggest issue this year is not being selective enough, not that he is being too selective
        2) all slumping hitters look 42
        3) agree somewhat, he does seem to be making more of an effort to use the whole field this season though

  • bleuboy23

    Hmm, maybe Tex is swinging at the “strikes” AL umps have been calling; you know the ones 6 inches off the outside of the plate to lefties…

    • rogue

      The game is better with a larger strike zone.

  • Brian S.

    Why hasn’t the stadium begun to boo him yet? New York has gone soft.