Teixeira's what Angels needed
July, 29, 2008
The Angels get exactly what they need in Mark Teixeira -- an impact bat who'll add power, patience and a legitimate threat against the super pitching they'll face in October. Teixeira is a true switch-hitter with a great approach who works the count, has power from both sides of the plate and has no trouble turning on good fastballs or adjusting to good offspeed stuff. The Angels don't have another hitter in their lineup who comes close to that description, not with Vladimir Guerrero still not 100 percent physically, not with Torii Hunter unwilling to work the count, not with Garret Anderson's bat speed slowing noticeably. Teixeira is also a "plus glove," which is critical for the Angels, who have built a great run-prevention team with strike-throwing pitchers and good defenders all around the diamond. In exchange, Atlanta gets its first baseman of the immediate future in Casey Kotchman. Kotchman hasn't performed well this season, but it's not consistent with what I've seen from him in the past. This year, he's swinging earlier in the count and trying too hard to push the ball to the opposite field. In the past, he was more of a take-and-rake hitter, working the count well, taking his walks, taking advantage of his good hand-eye coordination to make contact and showing average power. Like Teixeira, he's a great defender at first base. The second player going to Atlanta, Double-A right-hander Stephen Marek, has a live arm attached to a bad body. Given an $800,000 bonus as a draft-and-follow signing, Marek works with a low-90s fastball, a curveball that flashes plus with good bite, and an average changeup that he doesn't use as often now that he's working as a reliever. His delivery isn't smooth and his command is below average, especially with the breaking ball.