On December 23, 2008 the Yankees signed first baseman Mark Teixeira, to an 8-year, $180 million deal. The Yankees signed a power-hitting first baseman, who also hit for a very good batting average, and played gold glove caliber defense. Since then Teixeira has stopped hitting for a good batting average for some reason and I have a theory as to why. First lets take a look at Teixeira’s numbers, before he was a

Yankee:

2003: 146 G, 529 AB, .259, 26 HR, 84 RBI, 66 R, 29 2B, 5 3B, .331 OBP, .480 Slugging

2004: 145 G, 545 AB, .281, 38 HR, 112 RBI, 101 R, 34 2B, 2 3B, .370 OBP, .560 Slugging

2005: 162 G, 644 AB, .301, 43 HR, 144 RBI, 112 R, 41 2B, 3 3B, .379 OBP, .575 Slugging

2006: 162 G, 628 AB, .282, 33 HR, 110 RBI, 99 R, 45 2B, 1 3B, .371 OBP, .514 Slugging

2007: 132 G, 494 AB, .306, 30 HR, 105 RBI, 86 R, 33 2B, 2 3B, .400 OBP, .563 Slugging

2008: 157 G, 574 AB, .308, 33 HR, 121 RBI, 102 R, 41 2B, 0 3B, .410 OBP, .552 Slugging

Numbers since becoming a Yankee:

2009: 156 G, 609 AB, .292, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 103 R, 43 2B, 3 3B, .383 OBP, .565 Slugging

2010: 158 G, 601 AB, .256, 33 HR, 108 RBI, 113 R, 36 2B, 0 3B, .365 OBP, .481 Slugging

2011: 156 G, 589 AB, .248, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 90 R, 26 2B, 1 3B, .341 OBP, .494 Slugging

2012: 111 G, 408 AB, .257, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 64 R, 25 2B, 1 3B, .337 OBP, .493 Slugging

His first season in New York could fit right into his prior six seasons and would not even stick out. His last three seasons have seen him turn into an all-or-nothing player, but why? He actually shares some striking parallels, to another Yankees first baseman, his predecessor Jason Giambi. These are Giambi’s pre-Yankees numbers:

1995: 54 G, 176 AB, .256, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 27 R, 7 2B, 0 3B, .364 OBP, .398 Slugging

1996: 140 G, 536 AB, .291, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 84 R, 40 2B, 1 3B, .355 OBP, .481 Slugging

1997: 142 G, 519 AB, .293, 20 HR, 81 RBI, 66 R, 41 2B, 2 3B, .362 OBP, .495 Slugging

1998: 153 G, 562 AB, .295, 27 HR, 110 RBI, 92 R, 28 2B, 0 3B, .384 OBP, .489 Slugging

1999: 158 G, 575 AB, .315, 33 HR, 123 RBI, 115 R, 36 2B, 1 3B, .422 OBP, .553 Slugging

2000: 152 G, 510 AB, .333, 43 HR, 137 RBI, 108 R, 29 2B, 1 3B, .476 OBP, .647 Slugging

2001: 154 G, 520 AB, .342, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 109 R, 47 2B, 2 3B, .477 OBP, .660 Slugging

Now his Yankees numbers:

2002: 155 G, 560 AB, .314, 41 HR, 122 RBI, 120 R, 34 2B, 1 3B, .435 OBP, .598 Slugging

2003: 156 G, 535 AB, .250, 41 HR, 107 RBI, 97 R, 25 2B, 0 3B, .412 OBP, .527 Slugging

2004: 80 G, 264 AB, .208, 12 HR, 40 RBI, 33 R, 9 2B, 0 3B, .342 OBP, .379 Slugging

2005: 139 G, 417 AB, .271, 32 HR, 87 RBI, 74 R, 14 2B, 0 3B, .440 OBP, .535 Slugging

2006: 139 G, 446 AB, .253, 37 HR, 113 RBI, 92 R, 25 2B, 0 3B, .413 OBP, .558 Slugging

2007: 83 G, 254 AB, .236, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 31 R, 8 2B, 0 3B, .356 OBP, .433 Slugging

2008: 145 G, 458 AB, .247, 32 HR, 96 RBI, 68 R, 19 2B, 1 3B, .373 OBP, .502 Slugging

You will also see the same pattern with Giambi’s numbers. He continued to hit for a good average during his first season with the Yankees, but stopped during his second season. The book on Giambi became, that as a left-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium, Giambi would attempt to pull every pitch he swung at, over the short porch in right field. That lead to him facing numerous shifts, which lead to him losing hits, and ultimately points on his batting average.

Teixeira has also been shifted on very frequently, and attributes that to his hitting for a low batting average. While he does hit for a low batting average due to the shift, that is not looking at the big picture at all. The reason he is being shifted on so much is that he has begun trying to pull everything. His spray charts indicate that such was not the case, during his days in Texas, Atlanta and Anaheim. So why has Teixeira begun to pull the ball like this? Does the lure of right field apply to a switch hitter, just as it does to a lefty? These are Teixeira’s numbers as a right-handed hitter, before and after joining the Yankees:

Before: 1025 AB, .309, 52 HR, 204 RBI, 153 R, 74 2B, 4 3B, .393 OBP, .541 Slugging

Since: 700 AB, .290, 44 HR, 137 RBI, 125 R, 45 2B, 1 3B, .384 OBP, .546 Slugging

Those two sets of numbers are dramatically similar, from the right side of the plate. These are Teixeira’s numbers from the left-side of the plate, before and since joining the Yankees:

Before: 2389 AB, .281, 151 HR, 472 RBI, 413 R, 149 2B, 9 3B, .371 OBP, .541 Slugging

Since: 1507 AB, .252, 90 HR, 281 RBI, 245 R, 85 2B, 4 3B, .346 OBP, .493 Slugging

mlb.com

The numbers from the left-side of the plate are starkly different, from his pre-Yankees years. He has the same problem that Jason Giambi had, he has fallen in love with the short right field fence, causing him to only have problems hitting, from the left side. While he may say he has always hit like this, his spray charts paint a picture far to the contrary. I hope Teixeira gets back to the guy he used to be, because I don’t feel like this is the player the Yankees paid for, nor feel that he is worth the money, playing at this level.

I am not optimistic that Teixeira can return to his old self. What do you think?

sources: mlb.com