Posted by Raphy on March 7, 2010
Mark Teixeira is a notorious slow starter. Throughout his career, Teixeira's numbers in the first month of the season have been significantly worse than any other month:
Therefore, it was no surprise that Teixeira was asked about his early-season slumps during a pre-game interview. What was surprising was his response. As the always-informative Yankees blog River Avenue Blues reported,
Teixeira seems to think that his slow starts are a by-product of his being a switch hitter. Is this true? Are switch hitters as a group slow starters?
To answer this question, I used the PI player batting game finder to find the batting totals for every switch hitter from 2000-2009 in their team's first 25 games. (Select "Find Players with Most Matching Games in Multiple Years", From 2000-2009, Bats Switch, and In team's first 25 games.) You can see the results here. I repeated then repeated the process again without limiting the number of games. These are the results for that search.
When you add up the players statistics from both of the searches these are the results:
|First 25 games||43041||37836||10033||1989||301||926||4561||4240||6564||0.265||0.341||0.407||0.748||354||346||300||263||818|
Due to rounding, the jump in OPS is actually closer to .006 rather than .005, but it is still not a significant number (without Teixeira's numbers the jump is only .003). Clearly, for switch-hitters as group there is little difference between the first 25 games and the rest of the season. Teixeira's theory may be an interesting idea, but does not seem to have any basis in reality.