Can Teixeira Reach His Career Numbers?

Mark Teixeira, for whatever reason, typically gets off to slow starts. Maybe it’s because he’s a switch hitter and has to fine-tune two different swings. This is the explanation he offered when the Yankees introduced him. That might not be true of switch hitters in general, but it still might be something Teixeira personally struggles with. As he explains, he’s a “power hitter that relies on timing,” so it might take him a game or 25 to get in sync. But whatever the reason, the results are clear.

Teixeira has a career .389 wOBA, but in April it is just .329. That does mean that he’s producing at an even higher level in the following five months, but those first 25 or so games still put him in a hole. This year he started off quite a bit worse, a .271 wOBA in April. He came back in May with a .365 wOBA, though that was still lower than his career .386 wOBA in May. Things got even worse in June, where he dropped to a .352 wOBA. By the end of the month it was certain that he would not reach his numbers from 2009. The chances that he’d even reach his career numbers even looked bleak.

On Monday I wrote about Raul Ibanez and the rock bottom point of his season. Not only did Teixeira have one of them, but it came at the same time. Ibanez hit his low point on June 6. Teixeira hit his on June 5 when he struck out five times in a 14-inning game against the Blue Jays, one the Yankees lost 3-2. Since then he’s been on a tear, outpacing even his 2009 season with a .299/.399/.626 line. It has come with steady improvement in both his OBP and ISO, as the following graph shows.


Click for larger

The vertical line is the five-strikeout game. Before then he was up and down, though that’s to be expected of early season numbers. But since then he has steadily increased his output. What this makes me wonder is where we’ll see these lines level off. Clearly they can’t keep going up — and the OBP line has leveled off a bit already. At some point he just won’t be able to hit for any more power, or raise his OBP above a certain point. Will that come at the end of the season? Or will he level off at some point before that?

This leads me to the further question of whether Teixeira can reach his career numbers this season. Reproducing his 2009 season is essentially out of the question. He’d have to hit .380 the rest of the way to accomplish that. But if he reaches the same 707 PA he did last year, could we see him get back to his career line of .287/.377/.540?

Teixeira has 198 PA before he hits 707. At his current 13 percent walk rate, he’d take a free pass about 25 times. He’ll also probably get hit by three more pitches (1.5 percent of his PA) and will hit maybe one more sac fly. That’s 29 PA, leaving him with 169 AB, or 602 on the season. In order to hit .287 he’d need 173 hits on the season, 62 more, so he’d have to hit .367 the rest of the way. To reach his career .540 SLG he’d need 325 total bases, or 110 more than he has now. That would mean a .651 SLG the rest of the way.

His OBP throws off the situation because of his higher than normal walk rate. For his career that rate is 11.5 percent, but to change that would throw off all the other calculations. But, just for fun, if he walked in 11.5 percent of his remaining 198 PA he’d have 23 walks, which we could make, say, 26 because of HBP and SF. That gives him 172 AB the rest of the way, so he would need a .360 BA and .651 SLG to reach his .287/.540 career marks. At the 11.5 percent walk rate he’d then reach a .386 OBP, which outpaces his career (because of the walks he took earlier in the season, I guess).

Can Teixeira hit .360/.444/.651 the rest of the way? Almost certainly not. Even at his currently torrid pace that’s an unrealistic expectation. It seems, then, that Teixeira will end the season with numbers considerably below his career marks. It happens to the best of them. But at this point his season numbers mean very little. If he continues to hit .299/.399/.626 the rest of the way I don’t think anyone in New York will complain.



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Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.


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OremLK
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OremLK
6 years 17 days ago

Of course, Teixeira’s ZiPS ROS projection is actually .270/.366/.489. That might make them a little bit… less happy.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 17 days ago

Can Teixeira hit .360/.444/.651 the rest of the way? Almost certainly not.

Are we saying Teix is incapable of putting up a six-week stretch where he does a little better than usual on balls in play and fly balls at the wall? Because that just seems silly – the fact that he’s been hot in no way precludes the possibility that he will remain hot and/or lucky. Will he do that? I could agree with “almost certainly not.” but can he? I see no reason why he couldn’t.

tpain
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tpain
6 years 17 days ago

I’d bet a line of .360/.444/.651 is not THAT rare on a 200 PA sample. Will he do it? Most likely not. Can he do it? Yes.

KG
Guest
KG
6 years 17 days ago

He’s done it before – traded from Atlanta to the Angels, he went .358/.449/.632 in almost 200 ABs.

Of course, that seems to be the hottest he’s ever been to end a season, but as people have said, he can definitely do it, even if he’s not super likely to.

RPMcSweeney
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RPMcSweeney
6 years 17 days ago

Just a philosophical point here–I get that Teixeira’s career line is whatever he is hitting over his career at any given moment, but getting “back to his career line” seems to imply reaching the level of production before he went into the prolonged slump to start 2010. In other words, if he goes on a tear, his career line will rise, which will mean that he will have to hit even better than 360/444/651 to “get back” to his career line. If that makes sense. I’m not convinced it does.

phoenix
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phoenix
6 years 16 days ago

i think that if he continues to put up good numbers on the line of .280/.400/.600 for the rest of the season, he will have a down year of course but it won’t be as terrible as it looked earlier in the year. as long as the yankees make the postseason though, the new york fans won’t care. stats reset in the postseason, so it doesn’t matter how his season went aside from his own confidence. the postseason is when star power really matters. if Arod hits only 25 homers this year, it will have been a horrendous year for him. but that doesn’t mean he can’t hit 6 in the postseason again and take home top honors in november!

Andy
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Andy
6 years 16 days ago

In one fantasy league I’m in, I traded for Teixeira on exactly June 5 — I think the previous owner was miffed about the Platinum Sombrero.

The “slow starter” designation has always baffled me; I guess at some point I automatically assume that it has to be mental rather that physical. Interesting that Tex has actually offered an explanation, I wasn’t aware of that before.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle
6 years 15 days ago

Who cares? The guy hasn’t stolen one base this season, and he’s overpaid while fitting in perfectly with the new horribly overpaid Yankees.. Typical Yankee, basically when you look at Youkilis in the postseason compared to him.. For what he’s paid, he should find a way to get his average up to at least .280, get 38 bombs, and 120 RBI.

He’s sometimes a slow starter, because he’s the type who plays for a huge contract. And, he’s usually a little chubby every time he shows up to camp. Mix that in with the bat speed and aggression that are basically the antithesis of what Sheffield had in his prime.

Kevin S.
Guest
Kevin S.
6 years 15 days ago

Why would you compare him to what Youkilis is paid? The Yankees needed to make a competitive bid for him on the open market. Youkilis’ deal involved the buying out of arbitration years – that significantly drives the price down.

Also, it’s the 21st century. We can do better than triple-crown stats.

Kevin G.
Guest
Kevin G.
6 years 15 days ago

Sad Red Sox fan is Sad.

James
Guest
James
6 years 15 days ago

Any reason to assume he is a Red Sox fan? Or maybe other team’s fans are incapable of referring to Youkilis in a discussion.

Rich
Guest
Rich
6 years 14 days ago

“any reason to a assume he is a Red Sox Fan?”

Dumb Yankees Fan is Dumb.

Kevin G.
Guest
Kevin G.
6 years 13 days ago

Flock of wah wahs, dude is clearly a sad bosox fan, no other reason to immediately compare Teix to Youk in the same sentence as complaining about Teix being overpaid. Why would he steal a base? He’s not overpaid to steal bases, and Youk isn’t stealing any bases either. Besides, the article had nothing to do with his contract, and yet the guy wants to make it all sour grapes.

This dumb Yankee fan may be dumb, but he’s not wrong either.

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