Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yankees Spring Preview: Firstbase

1B: Mark Teixeira

When Teixeira signed last off season, the first thing I thought was that we just added a 100 RBI, 30 homerun guy to our lineup. He is as consistant as they come, and last season was no different. Teixeira finished with a .292 average with 39 homeruns and 122 RBI. Though he didn't hit much in the post season, his bat was enough of a presence to keep pitchers honest. Further more, after years of seeing Jason Giambi stampede around first base, I had almost completely forgotten what a good first baseman looked like. Last season I was reminded as Teixeira turned in yet another gold glove performance. His defense was as advertised, and I still remember him throwing to second base and the ball reaching the secondbase man. I was stunned. It had been years since I saw a first baseman throw the ball to the second baseman and not have it land in left field.

Fearless Prediciton:

Last season was an adjustment year for Teixeira, next year the real Teixeira comes out, and the real Teixeira hits 50 homeruns and 130 RBI's. He will begin referring to himself as the Real Teixeira, and soon evolves into the Artist Formerly Known as the Real Teixeira, before he finally settles on Marky T by the end of the season.

Little Known Teixeira Fact:

Marky T swings logs at boulders in the off season to strengthen his swing.


cheshirecat said...

I don’t think Teixera’s importance can be overstated. I’m not a stat guy, but his defense alone had to have won us a few games. I look forward to seeing him being one of the leaders of the next Yankee Dynasty that will lay waste to the rest of the league for years to come.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I would even go as far to say decades to come.

Teixeira has been a phenomenal addition to this club. I'm looking forward to seeing him mash for years to come.

Anonymous said...

But he has a negative UZR!!11!!!! (I'm a big stat person but I just don't understand UZR. Or to be honest, WAR, which somehow came to the conclusion that Ben Zobrist > Albert Pujols. Zobrist is very good but not THAT good.)

The guy is awesome.

Rich Mahogany said...

UZR just tracks the number of plays a fielder makes when a ball is hit into his "zone." I think Teixeira's UZR was about -1, which is basically average. That does seem strange to me, but from watching him play, Teixeira's fielding strengths seemed to be:

1) Making plays around the bag
2) Throwing (making him the anti-Giambi)

I can't think of him making a whole lot of plays that required him to range far from the bag. Maybe that is where he takes a hit to his UZR. I don't think anyone disagrees that he's a very good fielder though.

Anonymous said...

That makes sense, Rich, thanks. I never actually had it explained to me before. So UZR is really a measure of your range, not necessarily how good you are at your position?

Tex next year:
.328, 47 HR, 149 RBI bitchaaaaz.

Rich Mahogany said...

My understanding is UZR works something like this:

1. Each fielder has a "zone of responsibility" which is the area of the field where he is the most likely fielder to make a play.

2. UZR tracks the number of chances a fielder has to make a play on balls hit to his zone and the number of times the fielder makes a play on those balls. I think UZR also rewards players who make plays outside of their zone (e.g., if a CF runs into LF to make a play).

3. UZR also factors errors in some way, but I'm not sure how.

4. The end UZR value should be read as runs above or below average, with zero being average.

So the idea is that UZR tracks range as well as fielding ability. If a fielder makes a lot of plays, regardless of where they are, he will have a high UZR.