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Five Fun Facts About Mark Teahen

Ah, our beloved, mysterious, Mark Teahen. He's something of a fixture now, having been mostly a regular since 2005. In three big league seasons, he's managed to post a slugging in the .300s, .400s, and .500s, and in 2006 posted one of the most dramatic splits in team history, turning into Arod for three months to the tune of a .318/.392/.582 second half line. While his off-again, on-again, power frustrates, with his broad skill set (good defense at multiple positions, good baserunning, good OBP) he's a fun player to root for, and someone I'm glad is a Royal.

Onto the Five Fun Facts About Mark Teahen

  1. A California Canadian, Mark attended St. Mary's College in Moraga CA. Surprisingly, 62 Gaels have made it to the bigs, including Von Hayes and Tom Candiotti. At present, it looks like Teahen is the only former-student currently in the bigs, although, you never know when James Mouton might re-emerge again.
  2. Teahen has faced Jose Contreras and Mark Buehrle more than any other pitchers. (Thanks unbalanced schedule!) In 33 career PAs against Contreras, Teahen is .143/.273/.321, but against the Unspellable One, in 30 PAs, he's much better, hitting .433/.433/.567. Teahen has homered twice against five pitchers: Kris Benson (3 PAs), Jeremy Bonderman, Bartolo Colon, Cliff Lee and Javy Vasquez. Teahen's first career HR was against Matt Morris of the Cardinals, on May 21, 2005, in the 2nd inning of a 6-5 Cards win.
  3. Teahen, ever mysterious, ever flexible, has appeared in every batting order position save leadoff man in his career. His most common slot has been 3rd, where he's started in 139 games. From there its 6th (82 starts), 7th (61 starts) and 5th (36 starts). As for flexibility with the glove, Teahen has played 1992 innings at 3rd, 1150 in RF, 49 at 1st and 30 in CF.
  4. Mark has remained patient against lefties, but has nevertheless struggled to grab hits, or hit for power against them. On his career, he's a .243/.307/.381 hitter against southpaws. Still, he's not as bad as he once was. In 2005 he hit .200/.256/.342 against lefties, followed by .274/.333/.481 in 2006, and .255/.328/.344 in his disappointing 2007.
  5. As any reader of Royal Retro's 100 Greatest Royals Series might expect, Teahen is already creeping up the team leaderboard in numerous categories. He's 40th in at bats, 36th in runs (one behind Raul Ibanez), 40th in hits, 34th in doubles (tied with Raul, four behind Emil Brown), 21st in triples (one behind Berroa) and even 37th all time in home runs.  

Questions about Teahen's future continue, and at this point its safe to say no one is quite clear. In 2007, friend of RR Marc Normandin profiled Teahen at BP, concluding:

In 2005, Teahen hit most of his flyballs to the middle of the outfield, keeping him from putting together high extra-base hit totals or adding any homers. In 2006 we see a shift, as many more flyballs start to make their way over the heads of outfielders, or at least much deeper. His 2007 looks like it is somewhere in between the two contrasting charts, and his opposite-field power all but disappeared, as did his power up the middle.

What can we take from this? Teahen is a hitter better served by trying to get loft under pitches in order to drive them deep into the outfield, as he just doesn't do enough with the ball when he tries to poke it with a line-drive swing. If he were still in the infield and getting on base while hitting for a decent average, you might be able to put up with the lack of power to some degree.

His defense helps his cause, but only to a point. The Davenport Translations love him defensively in right field, and John Dewan's Revised Zone Rating sees him as a bit above-average, but that doesn't change the fact that he can't out-slug Yuniesky Betancourt while playing an offensive position. The most frustrating thing about Teahen is that after seeing his 2006 season and noting the apparent changes in his style during 2007, we know he can perform better than he did in '07, but unless he sticks with what works for him offensively—and not what he prefers to do—we won't see that production again.

Can he return to his tremendous 2006 form? Will he land somewhere between '06 and '07 in '08 (there's an ugly question)? Only time will tell (horrible cliche) patience will reveal the answer.

The night before Fanfest, Teahen will be hosting a Fashion Show.