Archive for May 18th, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

At this point in the season, Mark Teixeira is usually starting to emerge from his April doldrums. This year, however, the Yankees’ first baseman got off to a hot start. As a result, Teixeira’s current OPS+ of 141 ranks above his career rate and on par with some of his best seasons.

Although he has been one of the Yankees’ best offensive performers, one part of Teixeira’s game has been a little concerning. Despite establishing himself as a well-rounded hitter before joining the Yankees, Teixeira has gradually turned into a more one-dimensional slugger, particularly when batting from the left side.

As evidenced by the chart below, Teixeira has evolved from an all-field approach into a much more pull conscious batter. Although the percentage of balls hit to center and the opposite way have fluctuated during this period, the overall trend toward pulling the ball has persisted since 2007. Also evident from the chart is a potential relationship between the first baseman’s production and where he hits the ball. Over the years, it seems as if Teixeira’s output has increased in accordance with his use of all parts of the ballpark, particularly the opposite field.

Using All Fields: Where Mark Teixeira Hits the Ball (% of batted balls)

Note: Off field = Opposite + Center.
Source: fangraphs.com and baseball-reference.com (OPS+)

Although it’s clear that Teixeira has been pulling the ball more overall, has the same trend emerged from both sides of the plate? By isolating Teixeira’s directional splits based on handedness, we can better answer that question.

Mark Teixeira’s “Spray Chart” as LHB, RHB (% of batted balls from each side)

Source: fangraphs.com


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