On Friday night, while Hiroki Kuroda was shutting down the Toronto Blue Jays, I had the opportunity to be the guest on Sportswire Entertainment's live broadcast. Vinnie Apicella, the show's host, started in with a couple routine questions-- "How did you get started?" "How about those Yankees?" Then he asked a question I had to think about, "Which Yankee player has been the biggest surprise for you?" I gave it some thought. Hasn't the entire team been a surprise? They're in first place without their star players! Though I would have liked my answer to have been Francisco Cervelli, he hasn't been in the running for much of anything since his injury at the end of April. Before I knew it, the name Lyle Overbay slipped out.
There is not much that is memorable about Lyle Overbay's career. He's not a physical stand out and, for a fan base that's used to seeing Mark Teixeira's web gems, Overbay's defense seems average at best. He spent time with three Major League clubs before landing with the Yankees. Since his best offensive year in 2006, his performance has been a bit of a roller coaster. Decent offensive seasons have been followed by duds, and while parts of any particular season have showed a glimmer of talent, the other parts were forgettable.
Now with the Yankees, Overbay finds himself well liked by fans known for not warming up to new guys too quickly. With a .259 BA, how is he doing it? Just check the Yankees' RBI stats. Take a look at who's second only to the beloved Robinson Cano. Compared to other American League first basemen, Overbay's 24 RBI is not a grand statistic, but taken in the context of it being the second most RBI on the AL East's first place team, those 24 RBI bump Overbay up to being a pretty significant player. When the crowd's on their feet waiting for the magic, Overbay has come through with whatever hit or sacrifice out gets the team to score, or at least, closer to scoring.
Podcast Update: Due to computer issues, this month's podcast will not take place. Look for the next one sometime during the middle of next month.