Mark Teixeira, the Yankees’ powerful first baseman, has been horrendous this season. As he slumped last month, hitting .136 while posting an anemic .559 OPS, many attributed his poor performance to historically identifiable early season struggles. “Tex always looks bad in April,” pursed through the lips of seemingly every Yankee fan as they attempted to process the slump.
Is such a statement all that true, though?
If we exclude this season’s numbers, Teixeira, for his career, has put together a .252/.352/.437 triple slash line in April. That’s not particularly terrible – many ballplayers would kill for a .789 OPS right out of the gate – and this notion that Teixeira is, historically, a slow starter has often been overemphasized in order to justify Teixeira’s ineffectiveness this year. The same also occurred last year, his first in New York, when Teixeira hit .200/.367/.361 in the first month of the season (his ensuing offensive rebound was then connected to the return of Alex Rodriguez).
If you subtract Teixeira’s rookie year in 2003 (and this year) from his career numbers, his April line increases significantly, improving to .260/.361/.449 – that’s an .810 OPS – which is hardly indicative of a negative historical trend. Saying otherwise makes for an easy explanation, though.
In reality, as a Yankee, Teixeira has been historically awful in April, posting a .166/.332/.311 line. So, over the past two years, yes, Teixeira has been terrible in that particular period. That is, without a doubt, the case. Outside of that, though, his performance in April was never written in stone. He could have had a great April this year, just as he did in 2008 and in 2006, and it would not have been a case of trend bucking. However, the April pattern seems to be becoming a legitimate, tangible trend now that he has donned the pinstripes. Why that is, exactly, is unclear.
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