SleepersOctober 17, 2002

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Sleeper Watch

By Arlo Vander

Fantasy owners have been eagerly awaiting Mark Teixeira’s arrival in the majors for some time now. Many felt that the smooth-hitting third baseman was already skilled enough to succeed in the big leagues in 2002, yet in spite of Hank Blalock’s disappointing season, the Rangers showed patience with Teixera, leaving him in the minors all year.

There’ll be no stopping this switch-hitting future star in 2003, however. Teixeira tore up the minors, hitting better than .300 at all three of his stops and showing excellent power (24 hr, 83 rbi in 97 games). Best of all, Teixeira displayed an excellent command of the strike zone and great baseball instincts. The only element missing from his game is speed. In terms of pure hitting ability, Mark Teixeira ranks among the very best in the minors.

The main question surrounding Teixeira is where the Rangers will will play him. While Teixeira has only played third base so far, the Rangers seem intent on using Blalock at the hot corner, which would mean a shift to first base or the outfield for Teixeira. Keep an eye on this situation, and keep Mark Teixeira in mind when making plans for 2003.

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