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It seems like every year I, Albert Lang, talk smack about Mark Teixeira’s fantasy value. If you call me a Yankee hater, I’ll plead guilty every time, but I’m also a homer and Teixeira is from Maryland, my home state. So, trust me, I take no pride in breaking him down.

In 2011, Teixeira had the 18th best average at his position and the sixth most runs. He did have the most HRs and fourth most RBIs, but, really, that just makes him Ryan Howard in a down year.  He was a top 15 draft pick last year and this year he’s going in the top 30. I have Teixeira as the 37th best hitter and would rather have players like Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and, yes, Paul Konerko.

Teixeira backers will point to his career low .239 BABIP as the main reason he set a new low in batting average in 2011. However, this is the second consecutive season Tex set a career low in BABIP and AVG.  What’s more, 2011 saw Teixeira continue to try and hit more HRs. Since joining the Yankees, his FB% has risen considerably. While his line drive percentage hasn’t moved a ton, he is hitting less and less of them.

In addition, Teixeira’s plate discipline continues an alarming trend. He swung at pitches outside of the strike zone 27.8% of the time in 2011 (the most of his career). His rates for the past several years: 26.5%, 21.8%, 20.1%, 20.2%. This is a two year trend of poor ball/strike recognition. Not surprisingly, pitchers are on to Teixeira’s kryptonite:  last season only 39.6% of the pitches he saw were inside the strike zone. That percentage was 42.2% last year, 46.1% the year before and 46.8% the year before that. It has been on a downward trend since 2004.  If Teixeira stops trying to jack every pitch out of the park and becomes a bit more selective, he could, absolutely, return to glory.

That said, I see Teixeira as a .265 hitter, with downside. He’ll add 35+ HRs, 90+ runs and 100+ RBIs, but that average will hurt the value of those. He is certainly valuable and a top 40 player or so. If you draft him in the top rounds, expecting a top flight player, you’ll be disappointed.  Grey also shares my sentiments in his top 20 for 2012 fantasy baseball.

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  1. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    Before you call me a Yankee hater (which I am), know that I have some very flattering things to say about Derek Jeter coming out soon….

    So…ummm…do your worst

  2. royce! says:
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    I wrote about this in the comments recently: his low BABIP is likely from teams employing the shift against him when he bats lefty. Despite a fair 17.7 LD rate, his BABIP from the left was .228 (from the right, .278). The same was true in 2010, though it was not as pronounced.

    As a lefty he batted .224 last year, and .302 from the right side.

    So it seems that his AVG will come up slightly in 2012, though only slightly.

  3. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @royce!:

    I agree that the shift hurts him, especially when it comes to BABIP. I have no way of quantifying how much the shift has an impact though (i.e., how often he grounds into it).

    It does remain that the more fly balls you hit (that dont leave the park), the worse your average on balls in play will be. I agree that his average will likely come up a bit, but .265 seems to be best case.

    the last time he batted over .260 was his first year with the Yankees (also the last time his BABIP was over .300, his LD rate near 20% and his fly ball rate under 44%).

    Good call on the shift info!

  4. Mike says:
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    Shift def hurts him, it’s in his head. Let’s not forget the Yankees def tell him to hit homers, they did the same with Gianni, remember he use to hit .300? The article is spot on, tex won the yanks a ws in 2009, but the decline fantasy wise is clear and accurate

  5. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @Mike:

    Thanks, Mike. I guess I dont follow the Yankees enough to realize how crippling that shift is (although we’ve seen it with other first basemen as well). You and Royce are good to point it out.

    I do wonder about the incredibly uptick in HRs and perhaps it having something to do with new Yankee Stadium. Obviously, HRs put butts in the seat, but he had such a balanced approach before. He was a 4-category star, now he’s a 3-category star, damages you in one category and does nothing in another.

  6. chata says:
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    @Albert Lang:

    enjoyed the article
    and the comments , thus far .

    here’s the rub ===> it “seems” that , lately , fewer and fewer guys are
    hitting 35 jacks ,
    so i’ll take the average ‘hit’ …. and hope it’s minimized this year .

    now , if you wanted to mention that he often has that dumb/childish
    look on his face , and that he reminds me of the guy from “everybody loves
    raymond” , then , hell yeah , i’ll look for a different power hitter .

  7. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @chata:

    the problem is the price tag – nothing overly wrong with Teixeira. But if you’re spending a top 20 pick, you’re getting a positive in 3 categories, a nonentity in one, and a negative in one. That’s too much to pay, especially at a deep position.

    Compare Dan Uggla’s last two seasons: .260, 34 Hrs, 94 runs, 94 RBIs. Tex: .252, 36 HRs, 102 runs, 110 RBIs. I dont think anyone is saying Uggla is s top 30 hitter….

    Also, switch-hitting is clearly the work of the devil.

  8. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @royce!:
    Thanks for sharing, Royce. I know Mike’s work and follow him closely, yet totally whiffed on that article. It’s odd that I missed it because I’ve been tracking Tex’s batted ball stuff for awhile (http://h2hcorner.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/h2h-corner-knowing-adp-%E2%80%93-how-to-win-your-league-before-it-starts-mark-teixeira/).

    I really wish I had seen your earlier comments and flagged that article for review. it provides an even fuller picture!

  9. chata says:
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    @Albert Lang:

    when uggla hits .285 , this year , i’ll be saying it .

    of course , 2 or 3 years ago , i thought carlos pena was going to hit .285

  10. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @chata:

    talk about a victim of a shift, or of the inability to hit lefties….still Pena against only righties aint too bad….

  11. steve b says:
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    I say 36-110-.275………Keep scaring people away and I will take him at 18-20 any day of the week..
    last 5 years
    yr grounders—-ld——-fb —-avg
    2007 39 20 41 306
    2008 43 21 29 308
    2009 36 20 44 292
    2010 36 19 45 256
    2011 35 18 47 .248
    not that much different.If his grounders were rising I would worry

  12. Al Swedgin says:
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    Weird article (no offense). Who is over-rating Teixeira? It seems to me that the early consensus has him outside of the elite tier (top 5) but ahead of Konerko. So, I guess you buried the lede when you said you’d rather have Konerko (which I think you’ll be proved wrong about, even if it’s never mentioned again.) In any case, not really ground-breaking analysis: Te(i)x is not really being rated or (mock-)drafted much differently than you’re advocating.

  13. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    Well if i scared everyone away, wouldnt it be prudent to wait and take him at like 30?

    I dont know why grounders are the most important thing to you. The problem is Teixeira is selling out for fly balls. His GR/FB rate, while being around 1.00 for his career before NY, has never been higher than .83. The problem is that his ground balls and line drives are dissipating and he is hitting more fly balls (while not more are leaving the park).

    He has hit 222 FB per year with the Yanks. It was 181 per year in the three years before he joined NY

  14. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @Al Swedgin: Hey Al – Well Teixeira is going in the top 30 in mock drafts and I’ve seen him in the second round in a lot of places. Konerko is going 20+ picks later…

    While we’re talking about 2-3 rounds of difference, it’s incredibly important at the beginning of the draft. Sure if we were quibbling about someone being valued in round 15 versus 18, that’d be pointless. But you cant miss on your picks in the 2nd/3rd round. I think a lot of people see Tex as a cant miss guy, when, in reality, he isnt.

    I’ll happily take Konerko over Tex any day of the week…

  15. steve b says:
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    @ Albert sorry Albert my chart was pct not thats how many he hit of each.I’m sure you knew that though others might not .My concern about grounders is if he was trending more to hitting them it would mean he is losing power and bat speed.Which is not the case.I just think his average will rise.He has the potential to hit 40 but do you think Konerko does?Thats why I would take him over Konerko.I can see why someone else might Konerko though

  16. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @steve b: Yep, understand they were percentages. And you’re right that Tex hasnt been hitting many more ground balls but his fly balls are so high and he doesn’t deposit anymore over the fence, so I don’t think his average can move much.

    Konerko cant hit 40 (Tex hasnt since 2005), but Tex cant bat over .270.

    We’ll have to check back in during the season and see who’s right!

  17. Blunt Single says:
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    I agree. I’m a Yanks fan and I traded for Teix last year because I had a gaping hole at 1B, but never again unless he falls far. Had some great weeks, but seeing the 0-4 most of the time was turrrrible.

    @Grey et al.:

    Just completed first mock draft of the season. Thoughts? Comments?

    Roto 5×5 – 10 Team – Snake Pick #9
    (2 Cs, 5 OF, 1 UTIL, 1 CI, 1 MI, 9 P)

    9. Votto (1B)
    11. Longoria (3B)
    29. McCutchen (OF1)
    31. Weaver (P1)
    49. Pence (OF2)
    51. Phillips (2B)
    69. Victorino (OF3)
    71. C.J. Wilson (P2)
    89. M. Baumgardner (P3)
    91. M. Young (UTIL)
    109. G. Gonzalez (P4)
    111. M. Montero (C1)
    129. J. Johnson (P5)
    131. Papelbon (RP1)
    149. Hellickson (P6)
    151. Aybar (SS)
    169. LoMo (OF4)
    171. Walden (RP2)
    189. J. Weeks (MI)
    191. Oswalt (P7)
    209. C. Rasmus (OF5)
    211. R. Roberts (CI)
    229. R. Martin (C2)

  18. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @Blunt Single: Thanks for the comment.

    Like the draft, soe good combo players (McCutch, Pence, Phillips, Victorino, etc). Michael Young is also solid (as much as I dislike how the media covers him).

    I might like a few more power, and counting on brian roberts probably wont work out. Seems solid…

  19. Griff says:
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    I own Tex in a keeper league, and I admit I’m worried about his average. The spray chart in the fangraphs article says it all. He’s trying to pull the ball to take advantage of the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium.

    I think Tex is certainly capable of hitting the ball the other way, but I don’t know if the Yankees want him to do that. He seems to have become an all-or-nothing hitter: HR, walk, or out. I see both upside and downside to a .265 average.

  20. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @Griff: Thanks for reading, Griff.

    Yeah, i could see an average from .245-.285 and i wouldnt be shocked. I’d take under .265 though. I’m a fan of his, being a local boy, and the power is nice, but its a shame that he went from being a consistent .300 or so hitter to all HRs all the time.

  21. Blunt Single says:
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    I think Teix has just put too much pressure on himself hitting cleanup for the franchise that he thinks he needs to go yard every time. His confidence level seems to have dropped the last few years and I think that’s partly to blame. That shift doesn’t do him any favors though.

    @ Albert

    At the point of drafting Roberts I was just ready to be done with it and needed a CI and none were available. I agree with you though that power is really the only issue I see with that draft. Not a bad first one to shake off the rust.

  22. Albert Lang

    Albert Lang says:
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    @Blunt Single:

    Yeah, for whatever reason Tex is just trying to crush the ball all the time. Whether it’s pressure or just he likes hitting homers, who knows?

    Re: Roberts, I figured it was a getaway pick. Just wanted it noted for the record. Mostly i’m just annoyed the Orioles utterly failed to trade him when he had value.

  23. ML610 says:
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    It doesn’t look like your referencing the pitch f/x values re: tex’s plate discipline. These numbers run counter tonwhat you’ve quoted.

    • Albert Lang

      Albert says:
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      @ML610, I quoted his fangraphs plate discipline numbers, which, as you noted, are completely different from his Pitch f/x plate discipline numbers.

      I hadnt noticed the stark contrast. Thanks so much for pointing it out.

      When the two sets of data are this different, it’s probably not prudent to cite either.

  24. ML610 says:
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    No problem. I never paid much attention to the pitch f/x data, mainly because I didn’t understand it. But I gather it could be more reliable than the other data fangraphs uses. You’re right though, with that much of a difference it probably makes sense to avoid it.

    Difference is stark though, and makes me wonder which is more accurate.

    • Albert Lang

      Albert Lang says:
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      @ML610, I’m with you on the pitch f/x data and it being confusing.

      Did they always have the plate discipline stuff? I dont typically understand it as well, but cant remember why i settled on Fangraphs base numbers versus Pitch f/x–my only thought is that it didnt use to exist?

      I’m definitely going to ensure the pitch f/x and other graphs data match up in the future or just ignore it. Intuitively the fangraphs data makes sense, but that’s probably because i want it to prove my argument! :-)

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