Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/15/14
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Good walk rate? Check. Good strikeout rate? Check. Solid line drive and infield fly rates? Check and check.Confused? Check.What the heck is going on with Mark Teixeira‘s batting average! I understand that the man is aging and I get that he’s probably one of the slower sluggers in baseball, but Teixeira’s .250ish batting average fails both the formula test and the eye test. Our xBA equation accounts for a lot of the measurable factors that go into a player’s batting average — contact rates, type of contact, speed, strength — and it says Teixeira should have been a high-.260s hitter in 2010 and 2011 and a .288 hitter last year. When I actually sit down and pour through Teixeira’s Fangraphs page, I come to the same conclusion.He’ll be 33 years old this April, so while Teixeira isn’t ancient, he’s still a 10-year veteran. Last year aside he’s still put up great run, home run, and RBI numbers, and his lineup and ballpark certainly help augment those stats. No, he’s not the .300/35/120 player he was in 2008 and 2009, but there’s still a lot of production in that bat.At a GlanceStrengths: R, HR, RBI, SLG, OPSNeutral: BA, OBPWeaknesses: SBPlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Jose Bautista (TOR)Likely scenario: Ike Davis (NYM), Freddie Freeman (ATL),Worst-case scenario: Adam LaRoche (WAS)Mark Teixeira 2013 Fantasy ProjectionIs Teixeira’s ADP seriously 48.5 on MockDraftCentral.com? His end-of-year ranking in the last three years has been 61, 60, 180. We project him at 87th overall this year, so under no circumstances should you take Teixeira that early. Instead, sit back on Adam LaRoche or Ike Davis. Both players will be right around the 30/100 mark like Teixeira, and both will contribute a slightly better batting average at the expense of about 10-15 runs. I haven’t done too many mocks on MDC this year (I prefer the Yahoo! mocks by far) so I don’t know how high Teixeira is in their pre-draft rankings, but my guess is that’s seriously influencing his ADP.(You may notice we have Davis listed as a likely scenario and LaRoche as a worst-case scenario despite having LaRoche higher than Davis in our 2013 fantasy rankings. Both players are extremely close so it was a tough distinction to make, however we have improved our outlook on Davis and changed his numbers for our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide set to be released on March 1.)When you get right down to it, Teixeira has a proven history of pop. He’s not very old and I refuse to believe the sudden rise in ground ball rate last year (up to 41.1% from 34.5-36.5% range) is reflective of his new style. I’m chalking it up to a bad year, and a nice rebound is in store.In OBP leagues, Teixeira’s walk rate offsets his poor batting average making him a nice choice in roto OBP formats but again, only at the right price.
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