It’s hard to quietly exceed expectations in New York. Linsanity, ODB Jr.’s launch into the stratosphere, Carmelo’s endless drama, Jeter, A-Rod, the list goes on. Every triumph and every failure seems to count just a little bit more in NYC.
You would figure a Yankees player, who makes $22.5 million a year, hits in the middle of the order, and ranks in the top 10 in home runs and top 5 in RBIs this year would be the toast of the town, but that hasn’t seemed to be the case this year with Mark Teixeira. More importantly, he almost always seems to be under-owned in DFS. I get it, there are a lot of huge names at 1B and most nights, there is a more obvious play there. But should we be paying more attention to this guy?
As of this writing, he is tied for fifth in the league in home runs and is also among elite company in RBIs:
From a DFS perspective, he’s also been crushing Plus/Minus relative to his performance over the past several seasons:
So what is different this year than in the past, particularly for a player who is starting to get up there in age? Teixeira has always been tough on left-handed pitchers, but this season, he is killing them. Against lefties this year, he is averaging 4.27 FanDuel points per game, which puts him in Stanton and Bautista territory. As a switch-hitter, he is also averaging 3.17 FanDuel points per game against righties. Looking at his Fangraphs spray chart, his power profile could not be simpler, power to left against lefties and power to right against righties:
The new Yankee Stadium copied the field dimensions from the old Yankee Stadium, which was famous for its short porch in right. You would think that, knowing what we know, Teix would be a more optimal play against righties at home. However, you would be wrong:
And honestly, I think the whole short porch in right thing is a little misleading. Yes, far right in Yankee Stadium is 314 feet, third closest in the league, but far right is a smaller area than right center field, where Yankee Stadium’s fence distance ranks closer to middle of the pack. It turns out the most optimal play with Teixeira is on the road versus left-handed pitching:
The Yankees as a whole are just playing better this year as well after a disappointing 2014. In baseball probably more than any other major sport, a rising tide lifts all boats in terms of fantasy production. The below screenshot show Plus/Minus by Yankee players on a team level.
At this point, they are averaging about a quarter of a point more per player per game, which is pretty huge. Hitting in the middle of this lineup, Teixeira has certainly been reaping the benefits so far in 2015. Maybe he isn’t as big a name anymore as Goldschmidt, Cabrera, or the other great first basemen around the league, maybe you just can’t stand that face he makes when he is batting, but I say it’s time to give Mark Teixeira a little more consideration in DFS.