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Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: CAN MARK TEIXEIRA TURN BACK THE CLOCK IN?

                                                               Mark Teixeira

One of the more interesting and mysterious fantasy baseball cases going into the 2014 season is that of forgotten New York Yankees slugging 1B Mark Teixeira.  A say forgotten because Teixeira was certainly out of sight and out of mind in 2013 after playing in only 15 games the entire season due to a wrist injury in the form of a partially torn tendon sheath that eventually needed surgery.  That marked the low point of what was becoming a trend of injury-marred seasons that included underperformances at the dish.  Once finding himself as a late first round draft pick due to a monster bat that 39 home runs with 122 RBI while hitting .292 back in his first season in New York in 2009, Teixeira is now being left out of the top 12 when it comes to fantasy baseball first baseman for this season.  That means UTIL/CI status or even bench duty for a guy who is still 34 years old and who still hit another 39 home runs as recently as 2011.  So what really is going on here?  Is Teixeira in fact done as a prime time fantasy baseball slugger or can he be a sneaky good bounce back candidate?  Let's find out.

First's lets take a look at some trends starting with Teixeira's games played the last five seasons which reads 156, 158, 156, 123, and 15.  Teixeira accumulated 609, 601, and 589 at-bats from 2009 through 2011 which is about as good as you can get when it comes to durability.  Even before that stretch, Teixeira was almost never injured during his stays with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, and Texas Rangers and was considered to be a very dependable guy in the lineup always.  However like with all players who sail past the age of 30, the aches and pains begin to pile up and injury eventually takes over which we saw in 2012 when Teixeira played in only 123 games as he dealt with o DL stints.  You name it and it hurt Teixeira that season and that 2013 brought the wrist injury during spring training and the grand total of only 15 games played.  First baseman like Teixeira have bigger bodies that break down more quickly than others so this is a very valid concern and places a red flag on his stock on that aspect of his game alone.

Now let's get to the batting average which reads like this the last four seasons not counting 2013 when he played in only 15 games:  .292, .256, 248, .251.  When Teixeira was first coming up and through his years in Texas, LA, and Atl., he was a .300 hitter with the 40 home runs pop which turned him into a huge superstar hitter.  However soon after coming to Yankee Stadium and their luring short rightfield porch, Teixeira started getting into the awful pull habit that now permeates his game and is taking a large chunk out of his average.  Teixeira has admitted as much recently and he also tellingly said last season that he is not worried about average anymore since the Yankees really want him to slug home runs.  This is certainly not what you want to hear as a prospective owner as I have said many times over how a bad batting average helps offset some of the power given.  Case in point this guy.  Now in looking deeper under the hood, Teixeira is taking fewer walks while his contact rate has dropped some.  Not good trends again which could get worse as he continues to age.

Now as far as the rest of the package is concerned, Teixeira still possesses a very powerful bat that could almost guarantee you 25 home runs and 80 RBI which is nothing to sneeze at in this day and age of the pitcher.  The short rightfield porch is tailor made for Teixeira and if he can somewhat stay on the field for 450 at-bats, will provide CI or UTIL value for sure.  However this is far from what we saw earlier in his career and when you combine the average woes and brittle body, makes Teixeira no longer and every day starter at the very precious first base spot.

2014 PROJECTION:  .257 25 HR 86 RBI 78 R 1 SB

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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2 comments:

  1. What would constitute a bargain on draft day? Where do you think he will most likely fall?

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  2. A bargain 25 home runs for sure if he stays healthy but with a .255 average that takes some of the luster away. think round 11 in standard 12 team mixers.

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