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.