Grading 2012 and Looking Ahead – 1B/2B

Cano & Tex celebrated a lot in the regular season, but in the playoffs….not so much.

Very soon Brian Cashman will bring all of his lieutenants together to go over the team’s players and formulate an off-season plan.  We will do the same thing here, position by position to see what assets the team has, what is available in the upper minor leagues as an option and evaluate if it’s an area of need moving forward.  Today we’ll start with the left side of the infield.

First base – Mark Teixeira

Tex had the worst season of his career in 2012 as he had his streak of 8 straight seasons of 30-100 snapped.  He missed basically all of September due to a calf strain which is part of the reason his HR & RBI totals were down.  However, he also had career lows in SLG (.475) & OPS (.807) and had his 3rd straight season with a BA below .256.  Whether it’s his heavy pull tendencies, the severe defensive shifts, his uppercut swing or a combination of them all, Tex just isn’t the same hitter from the left side that Yankees signed for $180 Million.

After his great initial season with the Yanks he’s been a .252/.347/.484/.831 over the past 3 years and I have little hope he’ll ever return to the .290-.300 hitter he was through 2009.   Last offseason he vowed to work on using the whole field more as a LH hitter but after his typical slow start in April, he quickly scrapped it and went back into pulling everything.   In addition to the declining BA, he’s also been walking less (just 10.3%) the last few yrs which doesn’t make him a good #3/#4 hitter anymore.    Grade: C-

2013 Outlook:  With 4 years @ $90M left on his contract, he is going nowhere. Unfortunately, it looks like Tex is what he is at this point in his career and there’s little hope he changes.  He’s going to be about a .250 hitter with around 30 HRs-100 RBIs who plays very good defense.   With his diminished BA & OBP, he’s no longer a viable #3/4 hitter but he’s still capable of impacting any game with his power and defense.  With Tex signed til 2016, the organization hasn’t looked to develop a 1B in the upper minors and with Swisher likely gone they may look for a veteran who can play some 1B and OF or get someone like Nix, Joseph or Adams to work on 1B.

Second Base – Robinson Cano

Cano had a career year  in the regular season with personal highs in HRs, 2Bs, Walks, Runs, SLG, OPS, WOBA & RC+.  He was patient at the plate for much of the regular season which is the key for him at the plate.  When he’s patient and using the entire field, he’s as dangerous as any hitter in the league.  Unfortunately he has lapses where he loses discipline and looks to drive everything like he did in the playoffs.  He also has lapses in concentration on the bases and the field at times but his bat usually makes up for those.  All told, he was one of the best hitters in baseball with a .929 OPS and a very good defensive second basemen who loses some luster because of his terrible post-season.  Grade: A-

2013 Outlook:  Cano has a no-brainer $15M option that the Yankees will definitely exercise.  There is a possibility that Cashman and Boras could discuss an extension this Winter to see if Free Agency can be avoided but I think that ship has sailed.  I believe last yr was the time to talk extension and there is little to gain for either side to come to an agreement this yr.  Cano is coming off a career yr and Boras is already flapping his gums about a 10-yr deal.  So while it would help for the team to have an idea of what Cano is looking for, I wouldn’t expect anything to happen until he’s a FA.  There is the option to trade Cano since the Yankees have 2 promising young 2B ready to make their MLB-debuts in 2013.  However, that seems very unlikely since Cano is their only legitimate offensive threat and Cashman doesn’t usually operate like that.

Although Cano is almost definitely going to be at 2B in 2013, the team needs to give a role to Adams and/or Joseph as they are their 2 most MLB-ready bats.  Joseph is a soon-to-be 24 yr old lefty hitter who hit .276/.375/.465/.840 between AA & AAA.  He makes good solid contact and had an impressive 68/70 Walk to K rate.  Adams is a 25 yr-old RH hitter who hit .306/.385/.450/.834 in AA and is finally healthy after 2 years.  Adams is also a line-drive hitter with good strike zone recognition.  He played 3B for the final month of 2012 and could be an option there as well.

Mark Teixeira# 123 451 66 113 27 24 84 .251 .332 .475 .807 116
Robinson Cano* 161 627 105 196 48 33 94 .313 .379 .550 .929 149
Team Totals 162 5524 804 1462 280 245 774 .265 .337 .453 .790 112

About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on October 21, 2012, in Analysis, Hot Stove, Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 71 Comments.

  1. Fish what reasons do you believe Tex’s average has gone down so much since becoming a Yankee?

  2. Very Good point Doug……….the Yankees led the league in OBP AND slugging %………without many of their players having career or straightline seasons.

    They only lost because in the playoffs anyone can go cold as the playoffs are RANDOM ™. correct?

    • twasp, you are catching on, their is no other explaination for a player like Cano coming into the playoffs hot as a firecracker. These short series just are random. Barry Zito wins for the Giants, and Delmon Young is the MVP, go figure.

      • Doug, when will some of this mystical randomness start working the Yankees way? They’ve made the playoffs every yr but one in this Milenium yet they have just 1 WS title to show for it. Making the Playoffs 11 out of 12 years should produce more than 1 WS title right?

        • fishjam, it did there names are Brosius, Leyritz, Damon, and Matsui. Don’t forget your favorite AJ Burrnett.

          • Oh I get it now. Anytime someone plays well in the regular season it’s because they outplayed their opponent but if they do something good in the playoffs it’s because Zeus the God of Randomness gave them a Golden Bat or Hermes turned Swisher into a door knob-humping moron in RF. Give the yanks another pass for falling in the playoffs A-GAIN because they pissed off Zeus. Jeeez.

            • fish, I give these players all the credit for performing above their heads, it happens in sports and makes the games more interesting. Remember the catch in the Super Bowl when the Patriots were undefeated and the Giants won by Tyree. That was random!

            • fish, it’s not just good playing it’s also bad performance, like the Yanks hitting agains’t the Tigers. There is no good reason for Cano not hitting in the playoffs.

              • Cano lost his discipline. Rather than being patient and hitting the ball where it’s pitched, he continually swung at pitches out of the zone and tried to pull pitches away from him leading to ground ball after ground ball to the right side. He goes into funks like this from time to time and if the pitcher is able to execute his pitches and not make a mistake, he can be shutdown.

                From 8/11 to 8/21 this yr, he went 3 for 32. Before his amazing streak to finish the season, he went 3 for 24 from 9/24 to 9/29. His 2 for 22 and 1 for 18 in the playoffs were seen before from Cano when he loses concentration and discipline.

                None of these failures suprised me:
                – ARod didn’t hit RHP all year and went 75 PAs in September without an XBH.
                – Swisher has failed all 4 seasons in the postseason
                – Granderson disappeared for games at a time and K’d 194 times this yr.
                – Tex has never done well in the playoffs for the Yanks and was rushed back after injury

        • I forgot Raul, Bucky, Larson, and Boone. Only spoiled Yankees feel they should have won more, few times under this playoff system does the best team or even the teams with the best records during the season make it to the series. Last year it was said that the Phillies had the best starting pitching of all time, and they didn’t even make it out of the first round.

  3. Good article Fish……do you know who led the Al in sacrifice flys?

  4. I’ve never seen Cano look as bad as he did in the playoffs. What could have caused it?

  5. Very good Fish Tex led the AL in SF. Cut him some slack. He knows how to fly out.

  6. An OPS of 116+ with 30/100 and sparkling Defense. Ok for 2013?

    • It’s decent for an American League 1B but there’s at least 5 better 1B in the A.L.

      Here’s an interesting question……. If you could have your choice of players to PLAY 1B for next year for the same money, would you choose Tex or Swisher?

  7. Doug – please pick one of the following

    The Yankees lost because

    A – their offense was too one dimensional (hrs)
    B- good pitching usually stops good hitting
    C- swisher played RF like a Chinese gymnast
    D- randomness ™.

  8. twasp,
    A. Robby Cano , A’s, Yanks, and O’s hit below the mendoza line for the playoffs.
    B. Yankee pitching was good.
    C.He gone!
    D. Delmon Young, Braves air tight defense, Barry Zito, Atlanta only playoff team to hit .300, Beltran’s replacement, Nats relievers need to get one more strike and pull a Texas Rangers.

  9. While I’m on it, how many games better were the Braves than the Cards during the regular season? This new double wild card is a disaster.

    • I agree the 1-game play-in is ridiculous. However, although Atlanta had a better record than STL in the regular season, I believe STL was/is the better team. By the Pythagorean, STL should have won 93, ATL 92. Go player by player and STL had a much better lineup than ATL. STL has 6 players hit over .290 PLUS Carlos Beltran. Atlanta had only 1 regular over .290. The pitching was very even with ATL having a slight edge in the bullpen.

      The Yanks had a much better reg season record than Detroit but do you really think they were better than Detroit? Once again, go around position by position and the only edge the Yanks had was in the bullpen. I’ll take Detroit’s talent over the Yankees.

      Better regular season record doesn’t mean they are a better team head to head.

      • fiishjam, I believe the Yanks beat the Tigers head to head during the season. The difference is the Tigers have 2 of the best players in baseball, Verlander and Cabrera. Everything broke rightr for the Tigers this year. On paper you could say that the Rangers were the best team. Adding Sanchez, Fister, and Scherzer was huge by the Tigers front office the last few years, no one did better.

        • The Yanks beat Detroit 2 out of 3 in April and again in early June. Detroit was playing terribly early in the season. Their record was 25-29 after the second Yankee series.

          Regular season is a marathon where teams play different schedules and where the teams with the most depth come out with the better records.

          • Random-hater

          • fishjam, talk about rationalization, now the games at the beginning of the season don’t count. The Tigers were lucky to make it to the playoffs, the White Sox just gave it to them the second half. The Tigers play in the weakest division in the AL.

            • The games in the beginning of the season count in the standings just like all games. But you can’t tell me because the Yankees beat Detroit 2 out of 3 in April and June when Detroit was 25-29 makes them the favorite when they play in the playoffs 4-6 months later. That’s ridiculous. Detroit was 25-31 to start the season, then finished 70-45.

              Just answer me this question Doug, do you think the Yankees are a better team than Detroit in a 7-game series right now?

              • fishjam, No I don’t think the Yanks are a better team than the Tigers, I also think the addition of Anibal Sanchez was huge for the Tigers, where the Giants added Scuturo. Both were great additions to their team. It’s also easy to spin these stats to your liking. The Yankees had their chances to win the series agains’t the Tigers failed because they couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag. It was painful to watch. To me if you beat Verlander in April or August means nothing in Oct. There are many teams that have come into the playoffs flat and losing that have won the series, and vice versa.

        • Prospect-hater

  10. I think I was vindicated for standing up and saying I thought Alex had more class than the A-Rod haters give him credit for…there is no doubt he is not as PC as fans would like him to be. When he got moved down by Joe T. he didn’t raise holy hell about it, this time it was Joe G. and again he didn’t have a fit about it. There were one or two media people who wrote about him saying things…never happened!
    When he took on the media the other day he was very truthful and didn’t duck the tough questions.
    Everyone on the team had a hand in the big loss to Detroit…the pitchers are not in this group of lossers…I think they did well enough with a small stumble here and there, yes I include Itchy and Jeter with the other position players.
    Like, dislike or down right hate Alex, it doesn’t mater, he knows as we all do, he can carry the team to the championship and it is forgotten the next day or next at bat. Tex gets excused for coming back and playing hurt. Alex comes back from a broken hand sooner than expected, and is never given a break for trying to play through a hand that was sore. Tex nor Alex gave excesses, they know they should have done much better!
    I think some of US are in to much of a hurry to dump and buy other players. why the hurry, we have all winter to figure out what to do.Just a thought! 🙂

    • Again Arod was classless, how is that vindication?

      • As a Alex hater anything he does is never ok, he took his demotion like a man, instead of throwing a fit.
        Maybe, as you live in a glass (Rose colored) house, you may not want to throw rocks at another Yankee player!
        You make outrages statements about A-Rod and then when I say, some of the stuff written of him is hear say and innuendos, not a fact, you point out the media writings of some other guy that is an A-Rod hater. You are being what you are, a Liberal…wanting it both ways but, never the right way!
        I should think a Yankee fan would want A-Rod to comeback strong next year…oh, I forgot, A-Rod is not a Yankee is he?
        I want A-Rod to go somewhere else because he isn’t helping the team. You want him to go because you hate him.

  11. Jeter-hater

  12. Yeah Arod handled real classy ……by flirting with bimbos DURING THE GAME!

    • ARod has always had a very fragile ego and is very insecure. I believe the flirting was a way for him to handle his biggest humiliation ever, being pinch hit for and pulled out of the game in favor of a 40 year old guy.

      • Michael P…
        Maybe you haven’t read Joe T’s book, —A-Rod is nothing but a huge Ego! He can’t overcome his ego for the sake of the team.— something like that. That was his Managers opinion of him, that is having your players back.
        The flirting was A-Rod being A-Rod, nobody has ever said A-Rod was the most PC guy around. He does what he wants to do when he wants to do it, just like most of the single men do.

        Not the smartest thing to do…A-Rod. Very bad move in fact. You deserve all the crap you are getting for it…during a game!!!!!?? 🙂

        • Whether it was because of a fragile ego, an insecurity, too much boli…….it really doesn’t matter ….the guy is just classless and clueless. Thus we cannot vindicate old Yankee for sticking up for him regarding the way he handled the situation.

  13. Great article, and I’ve been saying it all along (maybe not here on the blog, but in general) – Jason Giambi = Mark Teixeira. Besides the ‘roids, and inability to play first base. Their numbers are fairly similar in their first four years in NY.

    .292 AVG, 39 HR, 122 RBI, .383 OBP
    .256 AVG, 33 HR, 108 RBI, .365 OBP
    .248 AVG, 39 HR, 111 RBI, .341 OBP
    .251 AVG, 24 HR, 84 RBI, .332 OBP

    .314 AVG, 41 HR, 122 RBI, .435 OBP
    .250 AVG, 41 HR, 107 RBI, .412 OBP
    .208 AVG, 12 HR, 40 RBI, .342 OBP
    .271 AVG, 32 HR, 87 RBI, .440 OBP

    Both never hit .300 again with NY after their first season, and became nothing but home run machines. Giambi got walked a ton so that has to do with his high OBP, but to me the Yankees are just dealing with Giambi 2.0 with Teixeira, plus gold glove defense.

    • Teixeira is what he is now, a guy who was supposed to the 3 man for years and switch hitting for a .300 average who is now a guy who has no real place in the batting order and who hits .250.
      He has benefitted to some extent from AJ being the scapegoat to deflect criticism away from others and now ARod. If ARod is traded, Teixeira will be in the spotlight as the highest paid position player and biggest underachiever as a Yankee, like ARod is now.
      It is amazing that he has 3 home runs in 150 postseason at bats as a Yankee!!! Those home runs have cost about 30 million apiece.
      I was so excited the day the Yankees signed him, he was young and thought the Yankees would get his prime years.
      I honestly can’t believe what we have witnessed happen to him at the plate. Perhaps he’s JUST LIKE GIAMBI Brian.

      • Totally. Could it really be New York though? Maybe if he went to a smaller market or a non-contender he’d still be putting up HOF worthy numbers he was set up to do in his prime, which surprisingly came before his prime years. Go figure.

        That’s the Yankees for ya. Now you’re stuck with Jason Giambi 2.0.

  14. Maybe Tex juiced?

  15. 2012 the year Jeter showed great character, fighting through pain , and showing what a great athlete and leader he is.

    2012 the year Arod was benched for poor play……..

    • Ok, let’s look at it…
      Jeter playing with a bad foot (last 14 days), effect; Almost no range, and 5 errors (only 3 were given),
      BA .241.
      Now, that is being selfish, not a great athlete and leader. When Joe had Nunez in the line-up, Jeter had a closed-door meeting with Joe and…Jeter played SS. Jeter should have set on the bench or DH, NOT played in the field. But no one dares to criticize Jeter.
      Way back before Jeter hit 2,000 hits, Jeter said he wanted to break Pete Roses’ hit record.
      Being selfish got Jeter hurt, it was his own fault…anyone that has ever played sports (big time) knows, the player has to ask for the shot he received. The shot is dangerous because, it numbs the area and you have (50%) chance of more injury…the player can’t feel the foot turning over and take the weight off the foot.

      (The closed-door talk with Joe G. did happen…what was said is speculation but, based on what happened afterwards with the line-up.)

      I realize, some (all) will say this is hate speech by me! That is ok, it isn’t, just trying to point out what is right in front of you. But again, no one ever tells the truth, when it comes to Jeter…they always find a good way to spin it to make it look good for him.
      May I say AGAIN, Jeter is a very good HoF player, so why must fans like you tear down a very good (all around player) to make Jeter or anyone else look better? Jeter doesn’t need your help to show he is a great player, it stands alone.

      • Hi Ken……I agree that when a player is too injured to help the team, he should sit down and let someone who can play better play. But down the stretch and in the playoffs, an injured Jeter was still the team’s best option.

        Jeter playing hurt down the stretch and in the playoffs was far from selfish. If he was only playing to chase Pete Rose then why did he keep getting cortisone shots so he could play in the playoffs? Those hits don’t count towards any Pete Rose chase and Jeter already has the record for most hits in the post-season. He’s playing hurt because he believes he’s helping the team to do so and he was. He was still the team’s most productive hitter in the post-season playing on 1 foot. Let’s face it, when Jeter was carried off the field in Game 1, the Yankees lost ANY chance to win the World Series. They were a completley dead team without Jeter.

        • I made that comment about him playing in the regular season. While he was hurt and BA of.241 with 3 errors.
          If he had set out those games, he would have been in much better shape to play, and much better in the post season. More than likely he would not have broken his ankle.

          Yes, we needed him for the play-offs, all the games. When he got hurt I said he was wrong to have taken the shots and play hurt. If I was a Jeter hater, I could say Jeter was why the team lost to the Tigers, he got hurt because he wanted more hits in the regular season.
          But I will not say it because I don’t want to believe he would jeopardise the WS for a few hits.

          • You don’t really think Jeter plays hurt to go for a record do you? Jeter has played hurt his entire career because that is the way he is and how he was taught to play the game by guys like Mattingly, Tino, O’Neill, etc. The record is far-fetched and many years away from even being close….playing hurt for a few weeks isn’t going to get someone a record like most hits of all-time. If Jeter hadn’t played hurt in September the yankees may not have won the division. That was his motivation.

            • I said the last 14 days of the season he played hurt; AB .241 with 3 errors. He should have been on the bench getting rest for his foot. Doing that, he may not have needed the shots and therefore his ankle may not have gotten broken. and he would have been able to help the team win vs. Detroit.
              It was Jeter being selfish, (anyone else would be told to sit) whether it was for the record or being tough, he ended up hurting the team by getting hurt, when it not need have happened at all, if he had rested.
              You know damn well, you don’t let a player tell the manager, he is going to play!
              I never said he wasn’t a tough guy, I like that in a player, but not hurting the team.
              The way he and itchy were hitting in the play-offs would have given us a chance, don’t you think.

  16. Ken – you are forgetting Jeter batted .333 in the playoffs with that bad ankle. While your boy Alex was RIDING the BENCH……… 😦

  17. You had a bad year Ken…..worse than the Yankees

    1. You said Jeter was not going to hit .300 and he hit .316………too bad for the Jeter hater

    2. You said Alex handled himself well when he was benched …then he was caught flirting in the dugout. …hahaha. Strike 2

    3. You say Jeter is shooting for Roses record, while everyone but you knows he playsvTO WIN!

    Strike 3 your out again ….big guy!

    • Tommy Gun….
      You are what you are, a liar and a trouble maker, What you say is BS! The only thing right is my saying, he wouldn’t hit over .300 this year.
      The rest is BS and you know it, Jeter has talked about nothing but the Pete Rose record all these years and you know it!
      As for flirting, what has that to do with his handling his demotion….BS again.
      Why you cherry pick at what I say is beyond me, maybe it is because you never have an original thought in your head at anytime. You agree with one commenter over another or insult someone who is telling the truth. Everything I wrote was the truth but would you discuss it….no way. I am a Jeter hater for printing the truth again to-day.
      How many times do I have to tell you I like Jeters great play, but not him as a person. The later has nothing to do with his play or HoF…!

      • Fish – this comment above is a Ken classic….frame it and put it in the YFU Jeter hater hall of fame:

        Ken says ” Jeter has talked about nothing but the Pete Rose record all these years”

        Say Whaaaaaaaaaat?

  18. Jeter NEVER talks about the Rose record…..PROVE IT WITH REFERENCES

    flirting on the bench instead of rooting the team on ….is NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO HANDLE A BENCHING

  19. Strike three you are OUT! Ken OR

  20. You are a good baseball analyst Ken….but you cannot “hit” with your opinions. You always K looking.

  21. Very good shot except, you lie again. We discussed his 4,000+ hits many times on the other site, after he made a comment about it! He hasn’t mentioned it since he hit 3,000 Why should he, everyone else is doing it for him?
    The flirting was during a pitching change if I remember right! Again, what has that to do with how his news conference went?

  22. If you don’t agree don’t call it a lie. That’s classless. You’re a better man than that.

  23. What has happened to you Ken? Beating up men and going to court? Calling TWASP a liar? This isn’t like the good man I knew for years.

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