May
15

Retaining hope for Mark Teixeira

By

While we’ve seen turnarounds after slow starts from Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, we’ve yet to see the same from Mark Teixeira. While he doubled and hit a big two-run homer last night, his numbers are still middling, to be kind. Of the Yankee regulars only Russell Martin has a lower batting average. None has a lower OBP. This goes beyond the typical slow starts of Teixeira, which is certainly cause for concern.

There are few positives in Teixeira’s abnormally slow start to the season, but we can take solace in a few numbers. For starters, he’s not a true-talent .286 OBP or 83 OPS+, even if you believe that he’s in decline. His numbers have nowhere to go but up. He hasn’t been popping up balls with the propensity he has in the last two years; to date he has just three infield pop-ups. We can also look this his most recent four games: 6 for 16 with two doubles and a homer. He might already be in the midst of a turnaround.

Teixeira doesn’t need anyone making excuses for him. But at the same time it hasn’t been easy for him in the early goings. After last season he admitted to being a bit too pull happy, acknowledging that he needed to change his swing. Maybe he worked on that during the off-season into spring training. But all the cage work and BP in the world can’t replace the in-game work it takes to make such adjustments. At the same time, he’s been battling a nasty cold. Can you imagine having to cough while you’re waiting for a pitcher to deliver the ball?

It might take Teixeira some more time to get into the groove of things. But once he does, I expect big things. If his early season struggles truly are the results of a sick man trying to make adjustments to live pitching, then the best is yet to come. As we’ve seen in the past, that could provide an enormous improvement to the team’s offensive output.

Categories : Offense
  • KDB

    You can expect big things all you want to, but his stats have gone down
    every year he’s been here. This just a bad contract the Yankees will figure out a way to absorb.

    Great fielder though.

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      “This is just ANOTHER bad contract the Yankees will figure out a way to absorb.”

      Sincerely,
      Future rotating DH club of Yankeedom

      • #28 in 2012

        Late defensive substitution club of Yankeedom says hello!

        • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

          Tex yes. ARod no.

      • A.D.

        Maybe Yanks can trade for the end of Ryan Howard’s contract and have an awesome 1B platoon in a few years

        • Typical MIT Nerd

          I laughed.

  • SevenAces

    I swear that stanking Juice Press crap is behind all this.

  • #28 in 2012

    AL should have a designated defender (DD) rule.
    Tex have yet to deal with the Bronx boos, which I believe will come if the team, struggles. You can only hide behind the glove for so long. The quickly approaching Mendoza line will bring the boos. Will see what Marky Mark is made of when he gets the the Arod treatment.
    Its an elephant in the room. No matter how many times Michael Kay mentions RBIs, no one in baseball has less RBIs while seeing the same number of runners on base. Batting order is insignificant, but Swisher and Ibanez should bat before our $180 million man. ($180 million, wow)

  • Brian S.

    He sucks.

  • JoeyA

    While I’m not in the “he sucks” group, he definitely needs a HUGE turnaround from this point forward.

    Bottom line: this lineup needs more contact hitters. Too boom or bust and Tex is a living breathing example of that issue.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I too have been disappointed with the offensive play of Mark Teix. I don’t see a declining offensive player. I see a player who makes good contact at the plate. But who refuses or is unable to hit to the opposite field. When the opponent sets up a shift not every pitcher can pitch to the shift and leaves a pitch on the the wrong side. Example was Teix. HR last night it was a FB tailing away from . He pulled it over the RF fence. It was a great result but I wonder if it may have been counter productive to getting Teix. to hit more like Donnie baseball less HRs but more productive AB’s.

    His defense compares to anyone who wears the first base glove.

    I don’t believe he’s in decline just having a tough time adjusting while trying to produce on the big league stage. He’s to sharp not to overcome the problem. We need some patience.

    • #28 in 2012

      Depends on what you want to be patient for.
      He is not working on anything but hitting over the shift. Its not like he is actually trying to go the other way.
      KLong already said not to expect him to go the other way. Dude is going to pound the right field for the next 4.75 years (from left side).
      I need patience for his disgusting contract to expire.

    • eephus_pitch

      Teixeira already has 100 more home runs than Donnie Baseball, yet fans still boo him. Now imagine if Tex didn’t have those homers? If Teixeira turned into a guy who hit 7-12 home runs a year, like Mattingly did at the end, fans would be screaming for blood.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Our lack of contact hitters against good/great pitching will kill us in the post season. No Damon/Matsui=no championships in a LONG time. We will only have an inning or two to score against great pitching in the postseason and Tex and Swish will have to come through against 2 strike splitters and changeups.

    • JoeyA

      THIS

      Last year, many made jokes about NYY relying on HR’s, saying “who cares how they score, as long as they do.” to an extent I agree, HR’s are never a BAD thing.

      That being said, they are few and far between in the postseason, when teams face elite pitching, pressure is higher, and sample sizes are small.

      Hitting a HR is not only hard to do in general, but much harder when facing these variables in the postseason, especially the elite pitching

      So, when a team like the NYY relies so heavily on the long ball to score, fans become accustom to what they saw in 2011, an offensively challenged team come October.

      We arent going to work counts in the postseason to where the opponent will need to bring in middle relief, that strategy doesnt usually work, once again, against elite pitching and elite teams.

      You need a balance of power and contact and unfortunately, Yankees are streaky in one category and almost non-existent in the other. Something needs 2 be done to balance the offensive attack so that on nights when the long ball is not really a factor, Yanks can still put together a 3-4 run rally.

      You can’t win in the postseason the way this team strands runners.

    • jsbrendog

      which is why we always lose ot verlander and king felix and pitchers of that ilk….wait…what? we haven’t lost to them yet?

      • DickM

        Verlander and Felix were both way off. It happens and we got lucky. When they are on Tex and Swish and a bunch of the others have no chance which is why we need more Gardners. The kid they sent down who can’t field has a better shot against Verlander than Tex.

    • TomH

      Agreed, in spades. Bring back the .300 hitter, I say.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I think Tex can turn it around IF he accepts that he needs help from Kevin Long. To me it seems like Tex is just doing his thing and hopes that he’ll turn it around somehow. Compare his swing to the one he had 3-4 years ago you see the differences. Back then he was a hitter, now he’s a slightly better version of Jack Cust, a dead pull hitter that can’t hit anything but fastballs.

    • #28 in 2012

      KLong already said that Tex cant modify his swing. No one is working with him on hitting. Dont you know about his cough? No other baseball player ever had a cough like that before….

      • JoeyA

        When you swing the bat left-handed, and the head of the bat ends up pointing towards the moon, somethings wrong with the swing.

        I dont care what other adjustments he makes, he wont have success when the point of contact is so small as a result of an uppercut swing. A more level swing has the ability to make contact at a number of different points during the travel of the ball.

        When you try to meet a ball coming in on a somewhat flat plane with a uppercut swing, your odds of failure to make contact will be much higher.

    • Reggie C.

      Reading that comparison to jack cust felt like a stomach punch.

      ugh.

  • Sarah

    We really don’t know how sick he is, and how much that’s affecting his performance. I’d guess he’s not sleeping well, his strength is down, and he generally feels like shit. I give him props for not using it as an excuse, but sending him out there every night in cold, wet and generally crummy weather cannot be helping.

    That being said, there are larger trends at play. It did seem like he was making progress with his swing in ST, so I’m not assuming it’s a lost cause right now. Slow start plus brutal chest thing gives me reasons to think he can turn it around.

  • JScott

    In 2008, the year prior to his joining the Yankees, he was hitting .271 with 7 HRs at the end of May. From June on he hit .331 with 26 HRs. So, if he executes a major turnaround, it wouldn’t be the first time.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    The numbers since 2009 have been in steady decline. He’s certainly not a .689 OPS player, but at this point is he any better than a .825 ops guy at his best? I don’t think so. That’s decent production, especially coming with a gold glove, but it’s definitely a shell of the production we should be getting from Tex this early into his contract, and it’s very likely that Swisher will outproduce him going forward for the rest of their careers. I think Tex will settle into the next 4 years of his contract as a nice Carlos Pena type. Someone who can mash 25-30 homers and get on base at an above average clip and good w the glove. I think they need to abandon the approach that has him trying to go the other way, I think it’s only hurting his production he will never return to form as an elite .300/40 .950 OPS guy, just let him pull the ball play to his strengths and live with his weaknesses. This in between version of Tex is useless

  • DickM

    Tex is 18 for 106 in the post season for us. With like 28Ks.

    As with all switch hitters, he is 2 separate hitters and unfortunately for us, from the left side he is just awful. He has hit 250 total the last 2 years which makes him about 225 vs right hand pitching. This is not some short term trend.

    Then when you get to his mechanics ……. honestly, there are high school hitters out there who look better.

    Lastly, you have the impact of the shift and the fact that he’s chasing bad pitches more than ever.