The Milwaukee Brewers recently signed veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. With a plethora of less than desirable options, the Brewers are hoping Mark Reynolds and Overbay can step up and produce at the first base position. Both players actually shared time last season with the New York Yankees trying to fill the void of Mark Teixeira.
This is the second stint in Milwaukee for the soon-to-be 37-year-old Overbay, who served as the Brewers’ first baseman in 2004 and 2005. Although well out of his prime, it’s worth noting that Overbay hit .301 with 16 home runs and belted a franchise-record 53 doubles in 2004.
His inside-out swing allows him to hit to all fields, but you aren’t going to see Overbay in the lineup with a left-handed pitcher on the mound. It’s evident that the Brewers have brought in Overbay, who holds a career .267 batting average, to provide consistency from the left side of the plate when his name is in the lineup.
Overbay joins a crowded position consisting of Reynolds, Juan Francisco and Hunter Morris who will compete for the starting gig in spring training. Overbay is by far the best fielder out of the bunch as he carries a .995 career fielding percentage. Look for the Brewers to give Reynolds every opportunity to be the lead dog while sprinkling in Overbay.
Francisco will get his rare starts, but will likely serve as a pinch hitter off the bench when the Brewers are looking for him to knock one out of the park. Francisco is just too inconsistent to be relied on day in and day out in the starting lineup.
Having competition at the position can only benefit the Brewers, and it’ll make for an interesting battle as the season nears. The Brewers won’t need anything but consistency and decent production from their first basemen as this team already has a very potent lineup.