2012 Projection: Can Mark Teixeira Return To His Glory Days?

We all know that Mark Teixeira has not lived up to expectations since joining the New York Yankees.  What happened to the days of hitting well over .300?  What happened to the guy who routinely ripped 40+ doubles?  That’s not to say that he was a complete bust in 2011, but was anyone particularly happy with these numbers:

589 At Bats
.248 Batting Average (146 Hits)
39 Home Runs
111 RBI
90 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.341 On Base Percentage
.494 Slugging Percentage
.239 Batting Average on Balls in Play

No one is going to complain about the power or RBI production, but the average was clearly detrimental.  It was his second consecutive season below .260 (he hit .256 in ’10) and simply blaming it on poor luck doesn’t cut it.

Could playing in Yankees Stadium have gotten into his head and affected his swing?  It certainly appears possible.  Prior to joining the Yankees in 2009 his highest fly ball rate was 40.9%.  Then, look at the numbers the past three years:

  • 2009 – 43.8%
  • 2010 – 45.5%
  • 2011 – 46.8%

It’s obvious that he is trying to hit home runs.  In turn he has put more balls in the air, which results in less luck on balls put in play.  In other words, while his BABIP is a bit unlucky, he also probably isn’t going to post a .300+ mark either.

That’s obviously going to affect his overall numbers.  It’s not just the average, but it helps lead to fewer times on base.  In turn, that is going to mean fewer runs scored (he had three straight seasons of 100+ runs prior to 2011).

Is 90 a bad number?  Of course not, though we would all be a lot happier if he was reaching triple digits playing in a stacked Yankees lineup.

Of course, his spot in the order is going to have an impact on that as well.  If he hits third (like he did for the majority of the season) or fifth, we know a deep Yankees lineup is going to provide ample opportunities for RBI.  However, if he is permanently moved down in the order, can we say that he’s not going to fall to 80 or 85 runs scored?  It’s a lot different having Russell Martin and Nick Swisher (if he returns) hitting behind you as opposed to Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  Time will tell, but it’s something to keep in mind.

In an ideal world Teixeira would go back to the days where he was hitting 30+ HR and 40 doubles (he had 26 in ’11), spreading the ball around the field and not swinging for the fences.  However, after two years of struggles, does anyone really believe it will happen?

Let’s see how it all adds up for our extremely early projection:

.265 (159-600), 35 HR, 105 RBI, 90 R, 2 SB, .271 BABIP, .356 OBP, .495 SLG

Obviously, the RBI/R numbers are also contingent on where he’s going to hit in the order, which we will have a better idea about as the offseason takes shape.  Overall they are fine numbers, but the average is going to keep him out of the Top 5 or 6 in the rankings.  He’s still going to remain a must use option, but just no longer at the level that he once was.

What are your thoughts of Teixeira?  Do you think he is going to outperform my early projection?  What are you expecting from him next season?

Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2012 rankings:

Is Howard Kendrick A Viable Option For 2012? It Doesn't Seem Likely...
Prospect Report: Could Ryan Lavarnway Provide Value In 2012?

One comment

  1. Morat says:

    http://bronxbaseballdaily.com/2011/12/quote-teixeira-working-to-improve-from-left-side/

    Supposedly Tex has finally figured out that he needs re-adjust his swing. Duh. He’s also going to dry and drop some wieght. Duh again.

    The Giambi comparison is obvious. I hope he figures it out.

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