Tagged: Justin Morneau

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.

Two Walkoffs Are Better Than One

What a game.

The Twins are formidable with their M&M Boys.
Whenever the Yankees play them and they hit bomb after bomb no matter who’s pitching, I can’t help but be reminded of these two.
But the Yanks are hot right now and no amount of Morneau/Mauer firepower is enough. Coming off last night’s stunning walkoff win, today’s 6-4 walkoff in the 11th was equally satisfying. I’m still jazzed, and it’s hours after the final pitch.
Highlights for me…
– Joba’s new pre-game warmup seemed to do the trick, and he made it through the first inning without damage this time. He went six, gave up two runs and struck out six. He’s looking sharper with each outing. Yeeehaaaaaaaah!
– Tex came out of the gate like a man on a mission, going 4-for-4 with a walk. Was there really any doubt that he would thrive in pinstripes?
– Veras and Edwar, the twin devils, walked their leadoff batters and made me nuts as usual, but Aceves was lights out. And Mo was Mo, which was the same as this.
– A-Rod, who had looked off-balance all day, popped one into the seats for his first hit at the new stadium and his first walkoff of the year.
Yes, I know there are Yankee fans who will boo him even when he does hit in the clutch. Not me. He admitted he took steroids. If it’s proven that he’s guilty of other baseball crimes, I’ll cross that proverbial bridge when I come it. In the meantime, I was ecstatic when he brought the game home for my team.
Take a look/listen. Sorry for the quality of the video, but this is what I get for shooting the action off my MacBook Pro. Just pretend you have Vasoline in your eyes and it’ll look normal.

A-Rod/Tex Rift? Does It Matter?

The Yankees blog “Was Watching” posted about the supposed tension between A-Rod and Teixeira when both were with the Rangers. Maybe there was a rift back then, but Tex said during his press conference that A-Rod was one of the players who got in touch to congratulate him on becoming a Yankee.

There’s a long history of teammates not getting along, even hating each other. But in most cases, the strained relationships didn’t affect the success of the ball club.
For instance….
Babe and Lou, despite mugging for the camera together, were said to be polar opposites who felt genuine enmity toward each other. Did it hurt the Yankees? Nope.
Neither did the resentment between Thurman
and Reggie.
Jorge and El Duque had a dustup in the dugout after a game
but the Yankees more than managed.
Turning to other teams, the Dodgers did just fine in spite of bad feelings between Don Sutton
and Steve Garvey. (Did anyone like Steve Garvey?)
The Red Sox didn’t suffer just because Carl Yazstremski
wasn’t thrilled about sharing the spotlight with Tony Conigliaro.
When Torii Hunter was with the Twins, he threw a punch at Justin Morneau
but they kissed and made up.
Even last year’s Cinderella, the Rays, had two players who got in each other’s faces.
But Garza and Navarro patched things up and won the Al pennant.
Baseball teams are like families – there’s a good chance someone won’t get along with someone else. But the teams that push through to the playoffs find a way to make even negative chemistry work.
It all comes down to being able to put aside petty differences, recognize the greater good, and go like this….