(And exhale. Good. Courtesy of The AP)
Here's your food for thought on a Wednesday morning. Check out where Mark Teixeira ranks amongst the 160 qualifying players in MLB in some offensive categories:
HR- 24 (Tied for 1st)
RBI- 62 (Tied for 4th)
ISO- .296 (5th)
SLG- .542 (12th)
wOBA- .388 (19th)
wRC+- 145 (18th)
BABIP- .214 (158th)
And right there is your smoking gun, ladies and gentlemen. Mark Teixeira is being cursed by some horrific BABIP bad luck. Not only is he 3rd to last out of all MLB qualifiers, he's a full 16 BABIP points behind the guy ahead of him, Alex Rios. With a value like that, he should be putting up Jorge-type numbers (no offense, Jorge), not ranking in the top 2-12.5% in the most important offensive categories. People are going to look at the .246 BA and the sub-.900 OPS and assume Teix is having some kind of Rob Deer-like garbage year where he's either a homer or an automatic out, but that simply isn't the case.
The Yankees as a team hit .282 on balls in play. Imagine what Teix's numbers would look like if he was just hitting that! We wouldn't be talking about him possibly getting squeezed out of the All Star Game for Adrian Gonzalez, Paul Konerko, and Miguel Cabrera. We'd be talking about Teix being the runaway favorite for AL MVP and possibly knocking in 150 runs this year.
Now I'll be fair and admit that maybe Teix is guilty of becoming a little pull happy with the short porch at The Stadium, and so he could be contributing to his own bad luck. After all, both his BABIP and BA numbers dropped off last year from where he was in '09 while his power stayed the same. But Teix is too good a hitter to be wallowing away in the Chone Figgins and Kurt Suzuki levels of BABIP mediocrity. Sooner or later, some of these balls have to start finding gaps and green space instead of gloves. And when they do, watch out.