The 2013 season was a lost one for New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, as a right wrist issue kept him out for basically the first two months of the season and eventually led to season-ending surgery in July. He wound up playing just 15 games last season, with three home runs, 12 RBI and a .151 batting average over 53 at-bats, and nagging injuries have become an issue for the soon-to-be 34-year old slugger in recent years.
Teixeira has been taking batting practice without issue in recent weeks, and he has told the New York Daily News he expects to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs in the middle of New York’s lineup this season. Should fantasy baseball owners have similar expectations for him in 2014?
Teixeira was once a picture of durability, averaging 153 games played from 2003-2011, and his production followed suit with at least 30 home runs and 105 RBI in eight straight seasons (2004-2011). But he missed 39 games in 2012, with multiple issues (left calf, left wrist, left heel, vocal cords) hampering him a different points that season, and last season’s dismal campaign does not need to be re-hashed.
The additions the Yankees made to their lineup this offseason (Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran) should help Teixeira in an overall sense, but his ability to stay healthy will still be the driving force for his fantasy value this year one way or the other.
It’s unrealistic to expect 150 games played or 500-plus at-bats from Teixeira this year, regardless of his personal expectations, and he no longer helps fantasy owners in batting average (below .260 each season from 2010-2012). But it is realistic to project him for 20-25 home runs and 80-85 RBI under the assumption of better health, and there’s value in that production for owners that no longer expect Teixeira to be an elite fantasy first baseman. There is some obvious risk in drafting him, even for the most optimistic fantasy owner, so those that do use a draft pick on Teixeira will need to back him up with another suitable option at first base.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.