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Archive for August 19th, 2011

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

Back in May, I examined some trends that suggested Mark Teixeira was evolving into a much more one-dimensional hitter. Despite beginning the season with what was for him an especially hot start, the switch hitting slugger’s splits still seemed to suggest the continuation of a pull-conscious batting approach that started in 2010. At the time, only 41 games had been played, so the sample size was limited, but now that three-quarters of the season has passed, we can take a more definitive look.

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+)

The chart above looks almost exactly like the one from May 18. It shows a slight moderation in the number of balls pulled by Teixeira, but continues the more prevalent rise since 2007. The chart also continues to display the gradual decline in balls hit to the “off field”, although an inverse relationship between balls hit to center and the opposite field seems to exist. In addition, a moderate correlation between OPS+ and percentage of balls hit to the off field is also evident in the data.

Since the first analysis was run on May 18, Teixeira has been using the entire field a little bit more, especially as a left handed batter. Whereas the switch hitter had been pulling the ball in 57% of his at bats from the port side, his current rate stands at 55%. A more moderate decline has also been experienced from the right side (50% to 49%). However, there is a divergence in where those balls are being hit instead. As a lefty, Teixeira is now hitting the ball to left field in almost 19% of his at bats, an almost 2% rise since earlier in the season, giving him one of his highest opposite field percentages as a left hander over the last five years. Meanwhile, from the right side, the first baseman is using center field more, and mostly at the expense of the opposite field. On May 18, Teixeira’s split was 25%/25% to each sector, but now it stands at 30%/21% in favor of up the middle.

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

Source: fangraphs.com

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