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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Albin: Teixeira’s Loss of Balance Statistically and Mechanically

Bad Count Vertigo!


Mark Teixeira has always been slightly better hitting from the right side, but his rapid decline from the left side the past three seasons has merited great concern. He’ll be 33 in April: is age an issue? What about his swing mechanics? Is the short porch actually hurting his production? These are major questions for a guy with four more years remaining in pinstripes.

From 2003 through 2009, his first season in New York, Teixeira notched a 140 wRC+ right-handed and 133 wRC+ from the left side. In the three years since, Teix has remained stellar from the right: 147 wRC+. However, a steep drop off left-handed resulted in a 112 wRC+.

Teixeira’s contract, an 8 year, $180M deal signed four offseasons ago, may become an albatross, if it hasn’t already, should this trend left-handed continue. He was one of the biggest prizes of that offseason, but is no longer playing up to the value of his contract.

Mark’s swing mechanics have changed, and certainly factor into his production falloff. The allure of the short porch at Yankee Stadium has made Teixeira increasingly pull-happy, leading to an uppercut swing. The following videos and pictures document this shift perfectly: this home run swing toward the end of his stint with Atlanta (prior to a trade to the Angels) in 2008, and this home run in April. To further illustrate my point, I took freeze frames at the points of contact. Then, I drew lines from the nose to the ground and from the back knee to the ground. Take a look at the pictures, and read the analysis afterward.

Repoz Posted: December 26, 2012 at 04:08 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: December 26, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4332626)
I thought it was common knowledge that Teixeira's upper cut was a response to the defensive shift.

Teixeira had a 1.010 OPS in 153 PAs batting third last year, .798 batting fifth. Was he only moved up against lefties?
   2. Dan Posted: December 26, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4332642)
I thought it was common knowledge that Teixeira's upper cut was a response to the defensive shift.

I think this is backwards. The allure of the short porch in NYS caused the change in his swing, and teams responded to his pull-happy uppercut approach by using the overshift against him when he's hitting as a LHB.
   3. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: December 26, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4332665)
Was he ever not a dead pull hitter as a lefty? That would be an incredible example of skill loss, because he doesn't appear to be able to hit the other way even accidentally now.
   4. bobm Posted: December 26, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4332685)
2012 vs RHP: (326 PA)

OrderPos PA
5th.    206
4th.     58
3rd.     45
2nd.      7
7th.      6
6th.      4

2012 vs LHP: (198 PA)

OrderPos PA
3rd.    108
5th.     56
4th.     26
2nd.      4
7th.      3
6th.      1
   5. PrimerLurker Posted: December 26, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4332718)
Teix gets VERY defensive when people try to analyze his declining stats. He says there's nothing to see here, move along.
   6. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4333099)
Yankee fans have to hope that his wife will tell him to adjust his swing.

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