I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think I wrote more about Mark Teixeira in 2011 than I did about any other player. Unfortunately, most of what I wrote was about how disappointing a year Tex was having. My focus in those articles was how Tex’s underling skills–mainly his walk rate and his power levels–were just fine, but something was coming up just short causing his numbers to look worse than normal. The thing bringing him down was his low BABIP, which was caused by an obscenely high fly ball rate.
In 2007, Teixeira put up a career high .342 BABIP. Since then, it’s decreased each year (.316; .302; .268; .239). His line drive rates haven’t varied much, but since 2008, his ground ball rates have dropped as his fly ball rates have risen. While fly balls are more likely to go for extra bases, ground balls are more likely to go for hits in general, so that decrease is a bit concerning. What’s more concerning, though, is the rise in infield fly ball rate. This year, Tex had an 11.8% IFFB, the highest since an 11.1% mark in 2006. That’s the real problem. His HR/FB has been pretty steady, but the increase in infield fly balls could help contribute to the lack of BABIP.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter all that much if Tex hits for a shiny batting average. If he walks a lot and hits a lot of home runs, I’ll be happy. The problem is that if he keeps hitting into outs, whether by bad luck or dropping his shoulder a bit too much, it’s going to drag his OBP down, and no one wants to see that.
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