Hartford (CT) Courant on Tex Vs. Youk

The sports editor of the Courant asked a few bloggers to weigh in on the tight contest between Teixeira and Youkilis for the All-Star spot at first base. I could hardly refuse.

Youkilis or Teixeira As All-Star Starter? Bloggers Speak Up

We asked some Yankees and Red Sox bloggers to weigh in on whether Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox or Mark Teixeira of the Yankees should start at first base for the American League in the All-Star Game (all stats and comment before Wednesday’s games):

>>Allan Wood, The Joy of Sox, joyofsox.blogspot.com: Youkilis’ batting average is 42 points higher (.317 to .275), his on-base percentage is 59 points higher (.443 to .384) and, despite Teixeira having hit seven more home runs, Yook’s slugging is 20 points higher (.588 to .568). According to Baseball-Reference.com, a team of nine Yooks would have a winning percentage of .776 against a league average team; a team of nine Teixeiras would have a .695 winning percentage. Kevin Youkilis belongs in the 2009 AL starting lineup.

>>Jane Heller, Confessions of a She-Fan,http://janeheller.mlblogs.com: I’m not much for stats, so I’ll leave that type of comparison to others. But here’s my take on why Teixeira should be the 2009 All-Star at first base … The Yankees haven’t seen the likes of Tex since Don Mattingly, and that’s saying something. At first base, he makes the other infielders shine. He can scoop an errant throw out of the dirt or make a great stretch on a wide throw. He can leap, dive and even smother any ball hit in his direction. And, unlike the hapless Giambi, he can throw the ball with speed and accuracy. As a batter, he hits for power and average, and hustles on every ball (hence his ability to score on the recent dropped pop-up by the Mets‘ Castillo). And here’s what really separates him from Youkilis — he’s a switch hitter, which disables a manager from using the lefty-righty pitching strategy against him. Although All-Stars aren’t necessarily Mr.Congeniality, Tex is the first out of the dugout to congratulate his teammates. That should count for something too. In my opinion, he’s the missing piece the Yankees have needed to reach the World Series and win it.

>>C. Williams, Behind the Moat,http://behindthemoat.wordpress.com: It’s a close one. I vote for Teixeira, not solely because he’s a Yankee, but because of three major points: 1) While from a purely sabermetric point of view, Youkilis might have an edge over Teixeira, as far as pure run-production goes, Teix is hands-down the choice. 2) Teixeira has had to carry the Yankees on his back for more stretches; whereas Youkilis has had a lot more help. 3) Youkilis is no slouch, but Teixeira has played flawless defense at first. You can’t go wrong with either, but I believe Teixeira has the edge.

>>Ian Bethune, Sox & Dawgs, http://soxanddawgs.comObviously being a Red Sox fan, I’m going to say Kevin Youkilis is the best choice to start in the All-Star Game. It’s one thing to lose the voting, but it’s another thing to lose it to a Yankee. Youk to me deserves
the start because he’s been one of the rocks of the Red Sox all season long. Teixeira really didn’t get going until A-Rod came back while Youk has been Mr.Consistent and at times, Mr.Clutch, for the Red Sox. While some of Youk’s stats (HR, RBIs) are close to Teixeira’s, Youk brings more to the table with a better average and better on-base percentage. Both are outstanding fielders and both deserve to be All-Stars, but Youk deserves the start again at first base.

>>Steve Silva, Boston Dirt Dogs, www.bostondirtdogs.comYouk had gone ice cold until this last series in Baltimore when he started swinging the bat better. Teixeira has put up impressive numbers for New York. But the player who may be most deserving of an All-Star nod for the American League at first base may be Justin Morneau: .311 BA, 19 HR, 54 RBI, .391 OPB, .578 SLG … and he’s homered in his last three games [heading into Wednesday night].

>>Ed Valentine, Pinstripe Alley, www.pinstripealley.comWhy should Mark Teixeira get the nod over Kevin Youkilis at first base for the American League All-Star team? Well, geez, the Sox have taken everything else away from the Yankees since 2004. They don’t even let us win an occasional game any more, having taken all eight 2009 meetings between the teams. C’mon, Boston fans! Throw us a bone — let us have something!

Seriously, there is no wrong choice when picking between these two. Both are terrific players in the primes of their careers who are key cogs in the middle of their respective lineups, excellent defenders and team leaders. And both guys play the game hard.

Tex seems like a guy made for the pinstripes, and he has been invaluable to the Yankees in so many ways. If you want to argue numbers, and that is splitting hairs, Teixeira has played 72 games while Youkilis has played only 63 of Boston’s 77.With 20 homers and 60 RBI, he is on pace to top last season’s 33 and 121. I don’t think Youkilis will touch those numbers

>>Chuck Korb, Sons of Sam Horn, www.sonsofsamhorn.com: From a stat geek perspective, Kevin Youkilis is a clear choice offensively. His on-base percentage, which of the easily calculated stats corresponds most closely with runs scored, is almost 60 points higher than Mark Teixeira’s. To put that into perspective, in 60 fewer plate appearances Youkilis has reached base only seven less times than Teixeira. Teixeira does have 20 home runs to Youkilis’ 13 (more on this later), but Youkilis still has a 20-point advantage in slugging percentage, which makes his OPS (on-base plus slugging) almost 80 points higher than Teixeira’s. 

Concerning Teixeira’s home runs, 13 of his 20 have come at the launching pad which is the new Yankee Stadium, and these despite 20 fewer plate appearances at home than on the road. The Yankees as a team have hit 21 more home runs at home than on the road in four less games. Certainly a case can be made that Teixeira’s home run total for 2009 is inflated. Defensively, both Teixeira and Youkilis are outstanding first basemen, although I would give the advantage to Teixeira. This would not, however, be nearly enough to negate the larger difference in the players’ respective offensive contributions for the first half of 2009. Youkilis should start over Teixeira in the 2009 American League All-Star Game.

My favorite answer was from Steve Silva of Boston Dirt Dogs, who picked Morneau. Now that’s fair and balanced! Kudos.


  1. juliasrants

    “Tex has carried the Yankees on his back?” – he hasn’t played for the Yankees long enough to earn that honor. Even as a Red Sox fan I know that Jeter is the only one on the Yankees deserving of that title. And Youk’s numbers become even more impressive when you factor in the time he has been on the DL! He did not need someone returning to the lineup for him to “find” his swing like Tex needed A-Rod – or at least that’s what I have read on so many Yankees’ blogs. Since all AL teams have a vested interest in who wins (WS home-field and all!) would we all not be better served by having a player there who doesn’t need someone else to make him good? Just this bloggers’ opinion.


  2. Jane Heller

    Julia, since I wasn’t the one who used the quote you mention, why don’t you leave a comment on the Courant’s page? I’m sure they’d welcome it.

  3. PAUL

    As great an all-around player as Teixeira is, I’d have to lean toward Youkilis. He just finds a way to get things done. While Teixeira’s like a thoroughbred, Youkilis is like that grinding mule who never quits. The Red Sox can plug guys in to replace their other parts, but Youkilis brings something to the table that’s not just quantifiable with stats.

  4. Jane Heller

    A thoroughbred versus a mule, Paul? I’ll take the former, but I think the mule is well ahead in the voting so it sounds like the campaign is pretty much over. Sigh.

  5. bburrows@lhup.edu

    I think this is just about a toss up. You can’t go wrong with either player. I think Tex is better defensively but Youk can play both third and first. Youk hits for a higher average but Tex is a switch hitter. Tex hits more home runs but Youk has a higher slug%. You really can’t go wrong with either player. Both are outstanding players.

  6. flairforthedramatic

    Great response Jane.. I think you’re right [of course].. Teix has been much more than the stats will tell you and has brought the Yanks to another level. The Yanks needed a first baseman like him, but more importantly a teammate like him.. a guy that excels but is humble and does everything right.. I wasn’t thrilled when they spent a bundle on him after all they spent on CC & A.J. during the off season, but I’m more than glad he’s on the team now.
    – V [ http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com ]

  7. Jane Heller

    All true, moneyball. Youk is more versatile defensively and Tex is more versatile as a switch hitter. But when you watch the Yankees play every day, you can’t help notice Tex’s impact on the team. He makes the other infielders better.

    Thanks, V. He really has brought the Yanks to another level. I couldn’t be happier that he’s on our side.

  8. Alex

    I did some math, and if you pay 1,601 people (excluding you) to vote for Mark Teixeria 25 times in the next 2 hours and 3 minutes, then Mark Teixeria will pull ahead in the All-Star race. Have you considered that? OR you could hope that 1,601 Yankee fans would do it for free.

  9. irishsoxkid19

    Yeah, forget Youk and Tex and have Morneau play!! I noticed that this morning when I read the article. No offence to the Yankees, but Mark Texiera hasn’t been in pinstripes long enough to play in the All Star game as a starter. Youkilis has more experience with the American League and he has spent his whole career as a Red Sox player. Also, he can play 1st base as well as 3rd base.

  10. Jane Heller

    I think I’ll let nature take its course, Alex. I’d like Tex to be the starting first baseman but not that much!

    Holly, Tex was in the American League before joining the Yankees – with the Angels and Rangers.

  11. splinter46

    The reason I take Youk over Tex is that Youk can play 3rd base as well as 1st. This has been a huge plus for the Red Sox since Mike Lowell has been having problems with his hip.
    When A-Rod was out, Tex can’t play 3rd, and without A-Rod there it hurt the yanks defensively.
    Offensively, you can’t lose with either player.

  12. Jane Heller

    I do see your point about Youkilis’s ability to play both first and third, splinter46. And wouldn’t you know that Tex made his first error tonight. (I hope I didn’t jinx him.) I guess we’ll find out the results very soon.

  13. Greg

    I don’t know. Maybe it is me, but I think Tex is OVERRATED as a defensive player. There have been quite a few times where he has failed to dig out out a throw in the dirt because of his over exaggerated hockey goalie like flashy glove save he likes to do, totally fanning on the ball and costing his infielder an error.

    I wonder how many errors each player really does save for their infielders.

    BTW, I do agree that Morneau is probably the guy who SHOULD be the starting 1b.

    Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

  14. Jane Heller

    I feel your pain, Emma. Maybe this is the NL’s year at the All-Star Game!

    Can’t agree with you on this one, Greg. I watch every Yankees game and have never once thought Tex was overrated defensively. In fact, I think he’s one of the least “flashy” players around. No frills. No nonsense. He just gets the job done, for the most part.

  15. matttan7

    I choose neither, I would like Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays to start at first base, because of his hitting, (home run power) and his plate discipline.

  16. matttan7

    I have nothing against, Mark Teixiera nor Kevin Youkilius, they are great players, I just wish that Carlos Pena would get at least a roster spot in the AL squad, maybe all three can go to the game.


  17. Jane Heller

    I think he should get a spot, Matthew. I know how valuable he is. And from what I hear from Rays management, he’s also an extremely nice guy.

  18. mantlewasarockstar

    Actually Julia, during A-Rod’s time away it was Johnny Damon–closely followed by Jeter, Canó, and Melky–who offensively carried the Yankees.

  19. Jane Heller

    What was great during A-Rod’s absence in April was that everybody seemed to contribute and step up, especially the players you mentioned, mantlewasarockstar (love that name). But I’m so glad Tex won in the voting!

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