Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Teixeira and the post-season.

Alright, let's deal with this. In a comment to a previous post, Rob writes:
And why the kid gloves with Teixeira, anyway? No extra-base hits from him in the postseason. Sure, he was on base a ton, but so what? He's supposed to be in the hitting-the-ball-hard part of the lineup, and to say he disappointed was an understatement.
Teixeira came to the plate 20 times in the post-season, and made only 9 outs. He finished the series with a line of 467/550/467. It's completely fair to point out that he didn't deliver an extra base hit. But the fact is that he still put up a 1.017 OPS for the series, by far the best on the team. In addition, he played stellar defense at first base.

In short, he was the Angels' best player in the series. Calling him a disappointment is not only inaccurate, it's unfair. It would be like criticizing a starting pitcher for holding the other team scoreless in his starts, but not pitching deep enough into games. Yes, you want the innings, but more importantly you don't want the other team to score. Do I want want doubles and homers from Teixeira? Absolutely, but first and foremost, I want him to not make outs. And if a guy doesn't make many outs in a four game series, I'm not going to get on him for failing to hit homers and doubles.

But what jumps out at me is the "blame the best player" mentality. There are a number of reasons the Angels failed again in this post-season. Blaming it on the guy who was one of your top two position players, if not number one, seems like a poor read of the situation. In close games, you can blame every player who didn't hit a homer every time up if you really want to. If anything, complain about the timing of the singles. None of them came with runners in scoring position (five plate appearances), and his lone RBI was a sac fly. But again, the Angels have highly paid players who failed more often in those situations. His defense, in my opinion, easily made up for his minor offensive shortcomings.

I'm not optimistic about his return the Angels. I haven't been since the trade. I hope he comes back. But based on the way his teammates seem to react to post-season baseball, I can't blame him if he heads for what he sees as greener pastures.


Anonymous said...

But based on the way his teammates seem to react to post-season baseball, I can't blame him if he heads for what he sees as greener pastures.

What greener pastures would those be? Tampa Bay?

- Rob, hiding out at Jiffy Lube and not wanting to give up his password on a public terminal

Seitz said...

Boston could probably use a first baseman next year.

Rob said...

And what difference will it make? It's not like the Angels were winning with him on the team anyway. Kendrick is, for all intents and purposes, a bust, and I wouldn't be surprised if Brandon Wood disappoints for the same reason -- no plate discipline.

Rob said...

That is to say, the only difference is whether they will be playing zero, three, or four games into the postseason. Yawn.

Rob said...

Also: Tex stranded eight batters. He had one RBI. Color me massively underwhelmed.

Seitz said...

Look, I don't want to get into a big to do about this because we're both hurting, but to be blunt, I think you're fucking nuts.

24 year olds with career batting averages over .300 are not busts. I don't know what universe you're in, but in mine, that's pretty good. He had an awful post-season. It won't be easy for him to put that behind him. But Howie is still a major league second baseman. Yes there are question marks, most glaring being his health and luck, but giving up on him is crazy.

Wood had a tremendous second half in triple A. He may disappoint, but again, he's very young, and while his September was a little overrated, he's has a history of adjusting. He struggled in low A, then blew away A and AA. He did OK in AAA for awhile, then blitzed the league for two months. If you think he's done, you're nuts.

And as for their record with Teixeira, much of it coincided with major injuries (let's not forget that Howie went into this post-season with very little 'rehab'). He was by far their best hitter. He did not keep them from winning.

I know we've had our differences, and I know you're hurting, but you need to be rational.

Rob said...

Fine -- let's agree to disagree on Kendrick. "Bust" is probably too strong a word, but dammit, I want to see him play a whole year without being either injured or ineffective. And frankly I think the "batting title waiting to happen" message is an anvil around his neck. To get to places like that, you have to have a good eye, and Howie has yet to show me he has that. Agreed he scarcely had enough time to rehab before coming back (I would have given him 2-3 weeks including a ML stint) but there are long stretches after he came back both times when he was very unimpressive.

As to Brandon Wood... well, we'll have to see, but I'm not convinced the Angels know a damned thing about developing offensive talent. This is not helped by Franklin Covey Field.