It seems rare that a hitter would have more success in the National League than he had in the American League, but that's what Mark Teixeira did after his trade from the Rangers to the Braves last year. Of course, when moving from the cavernous expanse of the Ballpark at Arlington to the shorter fences and higher altitude of Turner Field, increasing one's power output may not be so surprising (also moving form the big parks of the AL West to the smaller parks of the NL East). Tex managed to hit 20 points higher, slug 91 points higher, and drive in over a run per game - 54 games, 56 RBI.
Those stats certainly beg the question, what CAN was expect from our big first baseman in 2008. Surely he can't keep up that RBI-per-game pace... can he? What Tex did with runners on base during those last two months with Atlanta was absolutely sick. With runners in scoring position Teixeira hit .509 (27-for-53) with 8 homeruns and 44 RBIs - somebody slap me!
It would have been nice if all that production would have turned into a postseason appearance for the Braves, but from the stats he put up it certainly doesn't look like that was Tex's fault.
So the question again, can he repeat that performance? It seems unreal that anyone could hit .500 with RISP for a full season, but all we likely need is a fraction of that. I firmly believe that Teixeira is a .300-plus hitter who will only benefit and improve from a full year of being in the same lineup hitting right behind fellow switch-hitting slugger Chipper Jones. Assuming he's fully healthy, here is my prediction for Teixeira in 2008:
.311/.397/.605 with 43 HR, 158 RBI, 90 BB, 131 SO.
He makes the RBI-per-game mark since he takes about five or six off-days - remember, Bobby likes to give his regulars some rest every so often. With Yuney, KJ, and Chipper getting on in front of big Tex he will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs, and he takes full advantage, and unlike Andruw last year, Teixeira has a big year in his free agent walk year.
And just in case you forgot (and how could you), here is a song to get you excited about Mark Teixeira while you make your prediction: