Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Looking Ahead to 2010: Mark Teixeira
With the Yankees focusing on starting pitching early in the 2009 offseason, Mark Teixeira seemed like an afterthought, even though he fit the Yankees’ needs like a glove. We got a Christmas surprise when the Yankees swooped in and inked Teixeira after it looked like the Red Sox were about to sign him on Christmas eve.
Teixeira went out and had a solid season in his pinstriped debut, and although he didn’t hit much in the postseason he made several key defensive plays. No, he probably shouldn’t have finished as high in the MVP voting as he did, but it’s tough to complain about his first season in the Bronx. So what should we expect out of Teixeira heading into 2010?For more detail about the numbers that will follow, you can check out the first article in this series which has links to the various projections being used.
A switch-hitter with power and good OBP skills who's still in his prime, Teixeira is expected to be a very good offensive force again this season. Here's how he projects.
BR: Linear weights batting runs, not position-adjusted
BRAR: Batting runs above replacement level (position-adjusted)
BRAR/650: BRAR pro-rated to 650 PA
Aside from CAIRO, which is ridiculously biased, that's a pretty consistent set of projections. Teixeira is essentially expected to repeat his 2009, with a bit of regression in rate of performance and playing time. ZiPS seems a little low on power, but other than that I don't see much issue with any of the projections here.
CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
Teixiera's OBPs in 2007 and 2008 were .400 and .410, so it's not unreasonable to think he can approach that 65% projection, although I'd be perfectly happy with the baseline.
We know that defensive metrics are imperfect. One of the areas they seem to struggle with is first base defense. Teixeira looks like a very good defender, to both fans and scouts. However, his defensive metrics don't always agree with that. Part of that is the fact that first basemen see the lowest percentage of fieldable chances at any of the non-catcher defensive positions, which means sample size is an issue. Another part of it is that defensive metrics for first base don't incorporate things like ability to scoop throws or ability to chase down foul popups, so they may not give us a complete picture of how good a first baseman is.
With that being said, here's how Teixeira's defense has rated the last four seasons and how it projects for 2010.
zRS: Runs saved compared to an average defender according to zone rating
ARM: Runs saved by a player's arm compared to an average defender according to UZR
DPR: Runs saved in terms of turning double plays compared to an average defender according to UZR (for infielders)
RngR: Runs saved by a player's range compared to an average defender according to UZR
ErrR: Runs saved in terms of errors made/not made compared to an average defender according to UZR
UZR: Total runs saved compared to average (sum of ARM, DPR, RngR, and ErrR)
aRS: Average of zRS and UZR
Standard zone rating likes Teixeira's glove more than UZR, which generally means that Teixeira's seen a higher percentage of chances that would be considered easy. Zone rating does not adjust for difficulty of chances, whereas UZR does. Overall, the two systems see him as a slightly above average fielder overall. I think only Albert Pujols projects better at first in 2010.
GA_OPPS: Ground advancement opportunities
EQGAR: GA_OPPS runs above/below average
AA_OPPS: Air advancement opportunities. Opportunities to advance in sacrifice fly situations.
EQAAR: AA_OPPS runs above/below average
HA_OPPS: Hit advancement opportunities. Stuff like first to third on a single, etc.,
EQHAR: HA_OPPS runs above/below average
OA_OPPS: Other advancement opportunities such as wild pitches, passed balls, etc.,
EQOAR: OA_OPPS runs above/below average
OPPS: GA_OPPS + AA_OPPS + HA_OPPS + OA_OPPS
EQBRR: EQGAR + EQAAR + EQHAR + EQOAR
By these numbers, he's a hair below average but Teix doesn't get paid to run the bases, and being a run below average really doesn't impact his value at all.
Offense: Average projected BRAR
Defense: Projected runs saved compared to average
Baserunning: Projected runs above/below average in non-SB baserunning
RAR: Runs above replacement (offense + defense + baserunning)
WAR: Wins above replacement (RAR divided by 10)
Value: first column is a range of values for marginal wins, second column is the value of the projected WAR at that value
We don't know exactly how much a marginal win is worth to the Yankees, but Teixeira's pay seems like it should be pretty close to his value in 2010.
C.C. Sabathia is probably the most valuable player on the Yankees at this point, although Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Teixeira all have some say in the matter. Signing Teixeira prior to the 2009 season made a ton of sense, not just for 2009, but for the years that will follow, 2010 being one of them.