Sunday, December 05, 2004


If there's one person who has gotta be sleeping well with the news coming from the Grand Jury leaks, it's Mark Teahen. (Well, maybe Allard Baird too.) Talk about easing some pressure.

Ever since A's Scouting Director Erik Kubota dubbed the college hitter the one player from the 2002 draft most likely to be the next Jason Giambi, Teahen's been burdened with some superhuman expectations.

The year prior, Giambi hit an astounding .342/.477/.660 (.380 EqA) in his last season with the A's. This coming off a year in which he hit .333/.476/.647 (.373 EqA).

And so while Giambi was on his way to a .314/.435/.598 (.351 EqA) in his first season with the Yankees, Teahen struggled in his first exposure to High A Ball hitting .239/.307/.299 (.213 GPA).

The next year, repeating the league, Teahen did considerably better by going .283/.377/.380 (.265 GPA), but he still looked more like the next Joe Randa rather than the next Giambi. Teahen started 2004 in AA, and immediately showed legitimate signs of power to go along with that OBP by hitting .335/.419/.543 (.324 GPA). Maybe Kubota was right. As Aaron Gleeman noted at the time, Teahen was now outperforming where Giambi was at the same age. A mid-seaon promotion to AAA saw his power dip back below .400 and expectations deflated, and soon he was shipped to Kansas City as part of the three-way deal that sent Dotel to the A's and Beltran to the Astros.

A very good performance in the Arizona Fall League this year helped cement his prospect status as an everyday player, but until a couple of days ago the chance of Teahen ever reaching Giambian heights seemed mere Moneyball lunacy.

Turns out it was and it wasn't.

It all depends on what you mean by "Giambian heights".

Giambi's testimony suggests he didn't start taking steroids until '99 or 2000, and the numbers back it up:

'96 .286 EqA
'97 .301 EqA
'98 .310 EqA
'99 .332 EqA
'00 .373 EqA
'01 .380 EqA
'02 .351 EqA

'96 to '99 fit the development pattern of a young player reaching his prime. '00 onwards might best be described as "alien invasion".

Now's a good time to remember that Giambi wasn't an everyday major leaguer until age 25, and his prior minor league numbers while mostly very good were not spectacular:

A .292/.434/.481 (.316 GPA)
AA .223/.319/.363 (.234 GPA)
AAA .331/.416/.519 (.317 GPA)

Really folks, Teahen aint too far behind:

A .279/.361/.366 (.254 GPA)
AA .335/.419/.543 (.324 GPA)
AAA .279/.353/.435 (.268 GPA)

At age 24, Teahen has a real shot to be the Royals' Opening Day 3B. If not, more seasoning in AAA will only likely mean bringing his AAA numbers closer in line with what he did in AA.

And so when you consider that during his age 27 season in '98 Giambi hit a then-career high .295/.384/.489 (.310 EqA), Teahen's development looks more or less right on track. Assuming he can reach that peak, that'll put him about even with Beltran's best seasons with the Royals, and likely garner him more than a few All-Star selections. (And with Zach Greinke, Denny Bautista, and John Buck as teammates, no one will say he didn't earned them.)

Yup, things are looking up for Mark Teahen.

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

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