Monday, March 16, 2009

Why Teahen may bounce back..

Mark Teahen is back at it, trying to prove that he deserves a position SOMEWHERE in the starting lineup.  He and the Royals beat the Chi Sox 11-7 today.  Let's recap the game.

The offense banged out 15 hits and scored at least one run in 7 different innings.  The hitters drew 5 walks against 5 strikeouts.  The pitching wasn't as great as the offense, as they did give up 7 runs.  The pitchers gave up just 7 hits for those runs though (4 went for extra bases).  

Hitter of the game

Picking up the hitter of the game is Mark Teahen.  Mark was 2-3 with a home run and a single.  Mark drew one walk and did not strike out.  Mark scored 3 runs and drove in 2, his spring average sits at .455.

Pitcher of the game

The pitcher of the game has to be Kyle Farnsworth, who has been excellent since his poor debut.  Kyle pitched one scoreless inning, allowing no hits.  Kyle walked one batter and struck out one batter.  His spring ERA is "down" to 7.50


The Royals will make the longest trip of the spring tomorrow to Tucson to face the Colorado Rockies and Ubaldo Jimenez.  Set to pitch for the Royals is Kyle Davies, Yasuhiko Yabuta, Juan Cruz, and Roman Colon.  

My thoughts on Mark

I'll be completely honest.  I'm probably Mark Teahen's biggest fan.  2005 Mark was a rookie, and I had just started following the Royals very closely (I'd been a fan since I saw Chili Davis hit a monster home run in 1997 at the first royals game I can remember going to).  But I was also beginning to give up on Mark Teahen being a full time player.  Not to say I didn't want to believe.  Mark has a lot of potential, after all.  He has the size, the athleticism, the batter's eye.  But that's also Mark's curse, because it leads to so many expectations for him.

It doesn't help that he was the key piece in a trade for Kansas City's best player in a decade.  It doesn't help that he was a key figure in the book "Moneyball".  Mark never asked to be such an important piece in an organization.  And I honestly believe that if he had never been traded from Oakland he would easily have been playing third base for their big league squad since 2006 when Eric Chavez figured out how to not know how to hit AND be hurt all the time.  

The point is, this is an important year for Mark, because he finally has the opportunity to be what he really is.  And that is a good player.  Mark hustles, can draw walks, can hit for doubles, can steal bases, etc. etc.  Mark also will usually have a low BA, will strike out too much and will probably disappoint people with his power.  What I mean by this is that Mark, while having average power, will never wow people with the light tower HRs that people expect of an athlete of his size and strength.  

I'm sure everyone has heard the story about Mark and his whiffle ball days.  His dad and brothers would play at the top of a hill and his dad would tell him that if he would hit the ball the other way than he would go get the ball but if he pulled the ball down the hill than Mark would have to go get it.  This has essentially turned Mark into an opposite way only hitter.  However, Mark has been pulling a lot of balls this spring.  Mark is currently tied with 7 other players for third in home run this spring, and of all the hitters with at least four, Mark has the fewest at bats.  In fact, the next fewest at bats is Wilson Betemit who has 6 more.  Mark's line this spring sits at .455/.520/1.136.  Not bad.

I guess my whole thinking on this subject is that if everyone's expectations changes a little this year, I think that Mark will be a lot more loved this season.  Mark brings a lot of things to the table, we just need to sit back and see what he can do for the Royals this season.

Thanks as always for reading.

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