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.