Is Mark Teixeira’s home run barrage sustainable?

Questioning a player’s power stroke when he has eight career 30+ home run seasons seems petty. But when it’s Mark Teixeira, coming off major wrist surgery and a hamstring strain, it’s mildly surprising that he’s bopped eight dingers in 104 plate appearances. For what it’s worth, he’s also a notorious slow starter, making this long ball output perhaps more unexpected. I’m not complaining, of course, but curious to know if Teixeira has been a benefactor of luck in the first month and a half of the season.

With just 108 plate appearances, chances are his 28.6% home run to fly ball ratio won’t last, as his career mark sits at 18.2%. And no, he won’t continue his torrid 13.5 PA/HR pace, which would equate to about 44 homers in a full 600 PA season. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s been lucky thus far. Those stats aren’t predictive, but they might be descriptive of Teixeira’s fortune with some confirmation from ESPN’s home run tracker.

Of his eight home runs, there have been two no doubters and three with plenty of distance based on the stadium they were hit in. However, the number of parks stat gives us a better idea of how legitimate his home runs were, and by the looks of it, there’s only one true “cheapie”:

Yea, that has no business being out of any park. The only other round-tripper that would produce a mixed bag around the country was his homer off Joel Peralta on May 2nd. So, has Mark Teixeira had some good fortune? Absolutely, but every good power hitter isn’t going to hit 400 foot moonshots every time he goes yard. Some are destined to sneak over the wall.

The other six home runs are pretty convincing, leaving the park at virtually every stadium. Clearly, it’s not like Teixeira is barely clearing the fences – many of his home runs are not merely products of favorable weather conditions or Yankee Stadium’s short porch. If you want to say he only has six “real” home runs, whatever. That’s still one every 18 plate appearances, which is quite impressive.

It’s been a pleasant surprise to see Teixeira thrive in the batter’s box early on. At this point, I think we can go forward and not worry about last year’s wrist surgery sapping any of his power. Having concerns about his general health is another thing, as he’s already taken one trip on the disabled list this year. If he can stay on the field, there’s a decent shot that Teixeira pushes 30 home runs this season, something I doubt anyone in the organization was counting on in the preseason.

This post was originally published on Pinstripe Alley.

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