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Tejada's Offense, Part 2: A Splittin' Image

Third in a series of articles about the Orioles' most prominent newcomer, Miguel Tejada

The previous article in this series looked at various facets of Miguel Tejada's offensive game, including his home-road splits and hitting with runners on base. To further add to the picture of Tejada as a hitter, here are a few more cross-sectional slices of Tejada's hitting statistics.

Mr. Swing at (and Hit) Almost Everything

A possible weakness in Tejada's game is that he does not accept the base on balls with great frequency. Oakland GM Billy Beane, who famously prefers players who walk a lot, called Tejada "Mr. Swing at Everything," according to the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. That nickname employed a bit of playful exaggeration; in reality, Tejada will occasionally take a pitch, particularly early in the count. According to STATS, he swung at the first pitch only 10.2% of the time in 2003, the fourth-lowest rate in the American League. (One of Beane's favorites, Scott Hatteberg, finished first at 6.3%.) In his career Tejada has averaged a walk per 13.8 plate appearances with a K:BB ratio of about 2:1—hardly the epitome of strike-zone control, but not dreadful either. And although his walk rates have fluctuated over the years—his career high in walks, 66, came in 2000, and his lowest full-season walk total, 38, came in 2002—he has continued to hit the ball with authority while keeping his strikeouts in check.

Miguel Tejada's K and BB rates, 1997-2003

A striking trend evident in the chart above is that Tejada has struck out less and less over the years. In his rookie year of 1998, about one in every five of his plate appearances ended in strikeouts. That soon dropped to about 15% and descended even further to 9% (65 K in 703 PA) last year. He now strikes out very infrequently for a power hitter. In fact, last year he was the sixth-hardest player to fan in the AL, one spot ahead of Ichiro Suzuki. Of the top ten hardest hitters to fan in the AL, only Tejada and Nomar Garciaparra (#2) connected on over thirteen home runs on the year (Tejada 27, Garciaparra 28). Tejada's stroke was short and sure enough for him to make contact on 88.1% of his swings last year, 13th highest in the league. So while he does not possess the most discerning eye at the plate, he has demonstrably improved his ability to put the ball in play as he has matured.

Cold starter

Be forewarned that Tejada has often been extremely slow out of the gate. He has a .694 OPS in April over his career; in every other month, his OPS is .786 or better:

Tejada's career monthly batting splits
April 484 .242 .306 .388 .694
May 544 .281 .326 .498 .824
June 630 .273 .333 .452 .786
July 607 .264 .333 .456 .789
August 661 .278 .341 .487 .828
September 621 .271 .337 .457 .794
October 37 .378 .425 .595 1.020

It's not unusual for some hitters to start slowly because of rustiness or the cool April weather, but a 100-point drop in OPS is much larger than normal.

From both sides now

Tejada's production shows no notable discrimination between left- and right-handed pitching. His career OPS against lefties is just six points higher than his righty split:

Tejada's career platoon splits
vs. Left 927 .257 .337 .458 .796
vs. Right 2657 .275 .329 .461 .790

Tejada's slightly lower batting average against lefties is almost evenly offset by his higher walk rate off them. His power numbers are essentially identical against both types of pitchers.

Seldom-used wheels

Tejada's steals by year
Year SB CS SB%
1997 2 0 100%
1998 5 6 45%
1999 8 7 53%
2000 6 0 100%
2001 11 5 69%
2002 7 2 78%
2003 10 0 100%
Career 49 20 71%

Tejada has speed and can steal a base, although he has not attempted to do so often. He is 49 of 69 on steal attempts in his career, a 71% success rate. Those numbers mask his improvement in this department over the years. After stealing at an approximately 50% rate in his first few seasons, he learned to pick circumstances with a high likelihood of success and went 34 for his last 41 attempts (83%) as an Athletic, including a perfect ten steals in ten attempts in 2003. Oakland has discouraged the stolen base during Tejada's career, so it is possible that he will have greater opportunity to exploit his speed in Baltimore.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tejada's Offense, Part 2: A Splittin' Image:

» Orioles - Tejada should have stayed an Athletic! IMHO from Casey at the blog
From The Orioles Warehouse: Tejada's Offense Check out this link for an excellent analysis on why the A's should have resigned Miguel Tejada!!! He is very very missed! [Read More]

Comments (2)

We A's fans sure miss Miggy...enjoy watching him play, he is a special guy!

I am going to be bold and make a statement on tejadas future: In the next 6 years with the O's Tejada will win AL MVP twice ...

I really, really think he is capable.
My Baltimore Orioles Web page and ticket center


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 7, 2004 11:00 PM.

The previous post in this blog was O-day roster.

The next post in this blog is Digressions: Beats & Eats.

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