Thursday, January 14, 2010

Forsaken Albino Warlord Still Capable of Occasional Pillage

It is slightly unfortunate that Lyle Overbay is all but done in Toronto. More unfortunate than his departure from Toronto is all of our belief that he's as good as gone before it's even happened. It says a lot about the expectations of corner infielders and the search for the Next Big Thing when Jays watchers excitedly hope for Randy Ruiz and Brian Dopriak to get their chance at the expense of Overbay.

Lyle Overbay isn't just the Centralia Washington resident most frequently seen on TV (a fact I wish I made up), he's also a damn fine ballplayer. Unfortunately, he isn't fine enough at a position that demands eye-popping numbers. His .838 OPS is good on the surface, but trails nearly all other AL first basemen. His home runs, while lengthy with enough girth to satisfy, don't come frequently enough. His defense, like most first baseman, looks great on TV but doesn't hold up to the sober scrutiny of UZR and the like.

With a move inevitable, what are some possible landing spots for Lyle? Given the gentle nudge issued by the Commish and PA, maybe the Marlins have a need for a left handed power-with-a-small-P bat to offset Sassy Senior Jorge Cantu's poor splits and rampant dicknosery. Maybe the Braves need a first baseman? All options I'm sure Anthopoulos and friends have pursued.

Overbay figures to be on the move because he crushes right-handed pitching, plays average defense, and makes a reasonable wage over for the next year. As I said above, it's something of a shame as Overbay's a guy I enjoy watching. If he's standing on first base hitting leadoff fourth sixth eighth platooning somewhere on Opening Day in Toronto, that's okay too.

Image courtesy of Giantbomb


  1. Braves have our old pal Troy Glaus to play first next year.

  2. Overbay to the Marlins could be a Halladay-like scenario, where the Jays could easily eat a portion of the contract, in order to make a good deal happen. I was really happy to see Overbay coming to Toronto (mostly due to the fact that he was a doubles machine for my '04 fantasy squad), and I will be sad to see him go. But his legacy will hopefully live on, in whatever prospect(s) he can garner for us... and also in sweet, sweet bobble-head form.

  3. Overbay = underrated. He may not be the doubles machine he once was, but I enjoyed his time in Toronto.

    If not for the Casey Crotchman ... I mean .... Casey Kotchman signing, I'm sure the Mariners would have made a play at him.

  4. Overbay does fit the classic Braves 1B mold. Would they want a 7M platoon man or would they just stick with Glaus/Hinske? They're so desperate for power, any power, they might just do it. Their system is very top-heavy though, so we can't expect much. Would they give up Matt Diaz?

  5. Of course, that's assuming they plan to call up Heyward early in the season.

  6. I forgot about Hinske too! Maybe the Marlins are a better fit after all.

  7. How could you forget about Hinske?

    I've always thought of Overbay as an above average defender. This is why I don't like, or put much trust in, UZR. Fuck UZR.

    2006 with Lyle was good times. The rest, not so much. Happy trails.

  8. Correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not an UZR expert, however my understanding of UZR is that it measres how well you defend balls in play, and this is done through measurments of zones around your position.

    However, I think Overbays best defensive quality, and the most important defensive quality for any 1B, is how well they can catch a ball that is thrown to them from the other fielders, namely the 3B, SS and 2B. I don't believe UZR factors this into it's calculation.

    I've seen Overbay consistently dig balls out of the dirt that I used to watch Delgado fumble ir miss altogether. In this case, the 1B doesn't get the error, it goes to the infielder that threw the ball. Ever notice that with Overbay at 1B, the Jay other infielders have low error totals?

  9. I hear you Peter, just like Yankees fans with Teixeira, Overbay comes across as a much better fielder than the numbers suggest.

    Regarding digs and scoops at first base, here's an article from Fangraphs last year It claims that while a tall lefty like Overbay will save his team some runs with his scooping skills, it doesn't add up to much in the long run.

    Situationally though he's nice to have over there.

  10. For example, I looked up Marco Scutaro's error ratio prior to joining the Jays (non Overbay 1b), vs. his error ration as a Jay. Surprisingly Scutaro has played almost exactly the same number of innings at SS prior to joining the Jays, as he did with the Jays. With that being said here are the results:

    - Number of innings per error at SS prior to the Jays = 69.4
    - Number of innings per error at SS with the Jays = 115

    Now was Overbay responsable for this positive effect, I don't know, it could be he became a better fielder, the type of pitchers on the Jays or better scouting on where to position himself defensively, etc. However, it didn't suprise me that he had a lower error ratio as a Jay, because of Overbay.

  11. It's true that Overbay is basically the worst 1B with a guaranteed contract and position. Since he is on the last year of his contract, I would probably wait until an injury hits a contender and ship him off then.


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