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Mark Teixeira's patience paying off

Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees follows

Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees follows through on his eighth-inning, game-tying, three-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Friday, July 3, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Mark Teixeira has looked more patient at the plate in 2015, and the result has been one of his best seasons in years.

The Yankees first baseman hit a tying three-run home run in the eighth inning and an RBI single in the 12th inning of Friday's 7-5 win over Tampa Bay, and has been one of the team's top offensive players all season, leading the Yankees in home runs (20), RBIs (58), and slugging percentage (.537).

He is hitting .245 with a .359 on-base percentage, and his .892 on-base plus slugging percentage is his highest mark since 2009.

Teixeira has been more selective at the plate this season, and the second-lowest strikeout rate of his career (15.5 percent) and a 13.9-percent walk rate (his highest since 2008 and the eighth-best rate in the majors) are not the only numbers indicating this.

Though he is swinging at roughly the same percentage of pitches seen this season relative to both last season and his career, his pitch selection has been different.

According to the stats website, Teixeira is swinging at 22.3 percent of the pitches he has seen outside the strike zone, marking a 5.8 percent drop from last season (the major-league average is 31.0 percent this year).

Teixeira is also swinging at 69 percent of the pitches he has seen inside the strike zone, his highest rate since joining the Yankees in 2009 and a 6.3 percent increase from last season.

By doing so, Teixeira is not only striking out less often and walking more frequently, but he is also hitting for more power.

He leads the American League with a career-high .292 isolated power rate (extra bases per at bat), a rate that is also 13 points higher than his previous career high (set in 2004).

Per FanGraphs, Teixeira has been worth 1.8 wins above replacement this season, already surpassing last year's total by almost a full win despite the fact that he has played in 59 fewer games.

New York Sports