Teixeira Turning It Around
Mark Teixeira’s season so far has gone true to form. It started out with his usual slow April and he has had a very hot summer yet again. Teixeira was dealing with a bronchial illness that had him coughing uncontrollably coughing on the field at times and his voice sounded terrible in interviews. This struck him of a lot of his power and energy and Teixeira got off to an awful start. Teixeira only hit .244 in April with just 3 HR’s, 12 RBI, and a .686 OPS. Fans began to get restless and Joe Girardi even dropped Teixeira to 7th in the order for a few games. Teixeira finally took 2 games off to rest his illness on May 18th and 19th against Cincinnati. After that the Yankees played a series vs. the Royals before heading out to the west coast. That west coast trip was the turning point of Teixeira’s season.
Teixeira has been the Teixeira of old ever since that trip. He is hitting .275, with 13 HR’s, 40 RBI and his OPS has gone from .672 to the .847 that it is now since that trip started on May 25th. Teixeira’s numbers are now about where they should be at .255, with 19 HR’s, 63 RBI and a .847 OPS. It does not matter what Texeira’s average is as long as he gets his 35 HR’s, his 115-120 RBI, has as an OPS in the upper. 800’s, and plays his gold glove defense. As the Yankees have shown you do not have to hit for a great average anymore to be a great player. As long as you get on base, get the key hits when you need them, and hit for power you will be fine. For example would anybody say Alex Rodriguez is having a better year than Texeira because he is hitting 12 points higher? No, because Rodriguez’s is slugging 68 points lower, his OPS is 60 points lower, an he has 22 less RBI than Teixeira. That also indicates that RBI is just not a product of the lineup around you and that you still have to drive the runners in. Rodriguez is batting just one or two spots away from Teixeira in the same lineup, and has a higher batting average, so he should have more RBI than Teixeira right? He doesn’t because of the power numbers and the fact that he has not hit with runners in scoring position. So RBI is an important stat and not just a product of the lineup around you. Some of it is a product of the guys around you because obviously the more chances you have the more runs you can knock in, but that is not all of it and you still have to knock them in.
Teixeira has also come through in some very clutch moments this year, which has been a knock on him in the past. In high leverage situations this season Teixeira has hit .327, with 5 HR’s, 27 RBI, and a 1.127 OPS. In late and close games this season Teixeira has hit .457, with 5 HR’s, 22 RBI, and a 1.639 OPS. Also, in innings 7-9 this season Teixeira has hit .290, with 7 HR’s, 24 RBI, and a 1.038 OPS. His greatest moments this season include his 2 HR’s and 6 RBI game in one of the Yankees’ greatest all time comebacks in Boston, his game clinching HR against Dillon Gee and the Mets when they had nothing going against him, his game tying single in the 8th against the Mets the next day, his game winning double in the 14th inning against the Nationals, and his game tying 3 run home run against the Angels last Friday.
Teixeira needs his clutch play this regular season carries over to the postseason where he has struggled as a Yankee. Who knows if that will be the case because it is unpredictable. Even all time great players like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez have had postseason struggles before exploding in one big postseason. When you combine Teixeira’s power and defense you get one of the best 1B in the league. Teixeira seems to make a play with his glove every day that makes you say wow and he is saving the Yankees runs constantly. Teixeira leads all MLB 1B in HR’s and is 2nd in RBI, and is 6th in OPS. Other than Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, and Paul Konerko there is no better first basemen in MLB than Mark Teixeira.