The New York Yankees have had numerous surprises this season. At first it was injuries to their key players. Then it was their early success, then their recent struggles. But as far as specific players go, I think Lyle Overbay has been the biggest surprise.
Overbay was picked up off the scrap heap as an afterthought, meant to be nothing more than a backup first baseman. I don’t think anyone thought that he’d become the starter, not even Overbay himself. After starting his career with the Milwaukee Brewers and playing two decent years, Overbay was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays, where he spent five seasons as a decent middle of the order guy. In 2011 and 2012, he spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Atlanta Braves, and that’s where his career went downhill. He had just 11 homers total for those three teams, and he looked to be about done.
What a difference a year makes. Overbay has secured the first base job with good hitting and strong defense. He’s already surpassed his home run total from 2011 with 11, and he’s added 42 RBI. He gives the Yankees another solid hitter from the left side of the plate and also a strong veteran leader.
Guys like Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner have played pretty well, but none of their performances have been quite like Lyle Overbay’s.