Over the final months of the season, many Angel fans and even some prominent bloggers and sports writers credited the newly acquired Mark Teixeira for instilling patience at the plate to many his fellow teammates. Teixeira’s influence has been an ongoing debate throughout Southern California, as some credit him with increasing the teams walks while others continue to refute this notion. In exploring his influence on the team, a former teammate offered a few words of caution through the New York Post.
“The statistics will be there, but this is not a player who will make anyone else on the team better,” said a former teammate of Teixeira’s. “The numbers indicate an elite player, but if you watch him every day you will realize he is a very good player, not elite.”
Teixeira’s former teammate raises a good point regarding his ability or inability to elevate the performance of teammates. Therefore, the only fair way to solve this never ending debate is to examine the increase in the Angel batters’ walks per plate appearance after the arrival of Teixeira.
Before Teixeira played his first game for the team on July 30th, the Angels had walked unintentionally 270 times in 3,884 eligible plate appearances (Plate appearances minus intentional walks, hit-by-pitch, and sacrifice hits), for a walk-per-PA rate of 6.95%. From July 30th onward, the Angels walked unintentionally 159 times in 2,135 for a walk-per-PA rate of 7.45%.
Of course, that increase was due in large part to that of Mark Teixeira, who had 28 unintentional walks in 226 plate appearances (12.39%). Taking away Teixeria’s contribution, the rest of the Angels walked just 131 times in 1,909 earned plate appearance for a rate of 6.86%.
So before Tex it was 6.95% and after it was 6.86%. Looks like that old teammate of his was right.
However, let’s take Casey Kotchman out of the equation in the “before” category before calling this a done deal. With Kotchman out of the formula the Angels had 255 unintentional walks in 3,494 plate appearances, a rate of 6.54%.
So with that said, rest of the Angels did walk more often after Teixeira was acquired than before by 0.32% walks per plate appearance. That’s a difference of seven walks, and in reality, that isn’t a huge margin at all.
Before discovering these statistics from a fellow Angels blogger, I was fairly confident that Teixeira and his solid approach to the game, particularly at the plate, had rubbed off on the likes of Vladimir Guerrero, Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar. In retrospect, it was a ridiculous assertion. Guerrero was given a huge contract a few years ago for being an aggressive hitter so what incentive would he he have to alter his approach at this stage in his career? Kendrick and Aybar have both been encouraged by hitting coach Mickey Hatcher to be aggressive hitters. To think they would all become more patient hitter with Teixeira around was a little naive on my part.