Monday, February 27, 2012
Looking Ahead to 2012 - Mark Teixeira
Next up, it’s Mark Teixeira.
For the second straight year, Teixeira declined, as he hit a career low .248, which combined with his lowest walk rate since 2005 gave him the second lowest OBP of his career. Texeira hit for a bit more power than he had in 2010 as measured by ISO (SLG - AVG), but was still below where he was in 2009.
Here’s how Teixeira’s 2011 performance compared to his average 2011 projection adjusted to the same number of PA.
So he hit 11 fewer doubles and 9 fewer singles, while adding 5 HRs. He also walked 10 fewer times than expected. The chief culprit here was the big drop in Teixeira’s BABIP (batting average on balls in play). Teixeira had a career low BABIP of .239. The defensive shift teams play on him is at least part of that, but he’s gone from a .302 BABIP in 2009 to a .268 BABIP in 2010 to a .239 BABIP in 2011. When I see something like that, my first impulse is to think that we’re seeing a trend, but things that appear to be trends in baseball are often just random fluctuations.
I thought it might be useful to look at players who’ve seen a similar drop in BABIP and what it meant for their careers. So I pulled a list of all players since 1990 who had at least 300 AB in a season and then looked for the ones who had exhibited a similar overall drop in BABIP over a three year stretch and found what they did in the fourth year.
Teixeira’s gone from a BABIP of .302 to .269 over the past thee years, a drop of .063, so I looked at all players who had at least a .050 drop in BABIP over a three year stretch, which gave me a list of 155 players. I won’t put the list on this post, but you can look at it via this link.
Of those 155 players, 120 had a better BABIP in year four than they had in year three. On average, players on this list improved on their year three BABIP by about .027. I’ll note the caveat that there’s some selection bias in here because if a player didn’t improve on his BABIP in year four he would have had a harder time getting another 300 AB. But I think this is pretty good evidence that Teixeira can recover some of those missing hits in 2012. For whatever it’s worth, if you add .027 BABIP to Teixeira’s 2011 he’d have 8 more singles and 4 more doubles, and would move from a line of .248/.341/.494 to a line of .268/.379/.521 which is about as close to his average 2011 projection of .276/.376/.515 as you could hope for.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough about 2011, so on to 2012!
For more information about the projections above, you can read the first post in this series.
I’ve included his 2011 and the league average line for his 2011 PA as frames of reference. I haven’t adjusted league average for DNYS, so mentally adjust that upwards if you want to account for half of Teixeira’s games taking place in a farcical joke of a stadium.
The projections are all in the same general area. They expect Teixeira to be a bit better in 2012. It appears that PECOTA takes CAIRO and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make Teixeira look better.
CAIRO Percentiles Forecast
I know batting average isn’t all that meaningful, but it would be nice to see Teixeira hit in the .275-.280 range. But I wouldn’t bet on it. That being said, I wouldn’t be suprised to see him hit that 65% forecast.
gaR:base running runs above average on ground ball outs
aaR:base running runs above average on fly ball outs
haR:base running runs above average on hits
oaR:base running runs above average on wild pitches/passed balls
SBR: stolen base runs above average
I don’t really think of Teixeira as a bad base runner, but he appears to be below average. We’ll have to see if he’ll be the one to carry on the torch of base ruining so ably handled by Jorge Posada.
Teixeira’s got a good defensive reputation and makes some good plays, but is probably overrated a bit by the average fan and writer. I don’t think he has great range, but he’s got a good arm and makes some nice plays. He projects as solidly above average in all of the various different defensive metrics I am using here.
These numbers are based on a weighted average of the past five seasons, with some regression towards the mean. For 1B, the metrics don’t include scooping or foul popups but it shouldn’t make much of a difference. Maybe a run in either direction.
So what’s Teixeira’s projected worth given the above?
Rep: Replacement level adjustment (22 runs per 700 PA pro-rated to projected PA)
RAR: Runs above replacement (Rep + Pos)
BRR: Base running runs (does not include SB)
Def: Projected runs saved defensively
WAR: Wins above replacement (RAR + BRR + Def) divided by 10
Teixeira’s being paid more as a 4 win player ($22.5M this year) than a 3 win player. So let’s hope PECOTA is closer than the others.
I don’t know what I expect out of Teixeira in 2012. To be honest, the more I think about it, the more concerned I am about the Yankees’ offense this year. I can envision scenarios where the Yankees get less offense than expected out of just about every position but 2B and CF. That makes Teixeira even more important.
Hopefully he’s up to it.
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