Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

04 Sep

Lyle Overbay (written by Braves14)

Lyle Overbay came up in the Diamondbacks organization as a guy who hit for a high average with medium power and walks. He only had one season in the minors where he hit below .342. Arizona thought that he would be a younger and cheaper version of the guy he was replacing (Mark Grace). He was the most usual first baseman for the D-Backs in 2003 hitting .276/.365/.402/.767 but with only 4 homers. Remember that this era was a much more offensive environment and it was also in a friendly hitters’ park, so this wasn’t quite as impressive as Arizona had hoped. Also, Overbay was already 26. In the offseason, Arizona decided to make a big trade with Milwaukee for Richie Sexson and sent Overbay to the Brewers.

Overbay was roughly a league average first baseman for Milwaukee over the next 2 years hitting .289/.376/.464, for an .840 OPS and an 118 OPS+. After 2 seasons he was then traded to Toronto where he was the regular first baseman for the next 5 seasons. However, during this time, Overbay’s major skill which was hitting for average began to decline as he passed the wrong side of age 30. After 2010, when Overbay hit .243/.329/.433, Toronto let him leave as a free agent and Overbay went to Pittsburgh.

Overbay was a failure as the first baseman for Pittsburgh and lost his job midseason. After Pittsburgh released him he was picked up by his original organization, Arizona, where for the past season he has been primarily used as a pinch-hitter. He has done well in this role hitting with above an .800 OPS since last August and seems to be a good pickup for the Braves if he can continue at this level, since Eric Hinske looks toast.

He is not a great defensive first baseman, with a -3.8 defensive bWAR over his career.

94 Responses to “Lyle Overbay (written by Braves14)”

  1. 1
    Adam R Says:

    Feel the excitement!

  2. 2
    Parish Says:

    Oi! JC’d again.

    I’m kind of surprised Mac is not getting any credit for that double by Ross last night that moved 30 – 40 feet to left field.

    The erratic movement of that ball smacked of a scene from the movie Angels in the Outfield.

  3. 3
    MikeM Says:

    Interesting article by Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs concerning Uggla’s rapid fall.

    This might be the line that gets most Braves fans nodding their heads in agreement:

    “Lots of strikeouts and lots of infield flies is just a lousy combination for a hitter, and likely speaks to an uppercut swing that is designed to get power out of a body that is losing the ability to hit home runs without trying for them.”

    For all my love of sabermetric writers (especially Cameron) I’ve been wanting more of this type of analysis – pointing out specific parts of a swing or pitching motion that point to why player performance is what it is. A bit of true scouting to go along with statistical analysis.

  4. 4
    csg Says:


  5. 5
    Smitty Says:

    If the Braves make the playoffs, is Uggla on the roster?

  6. 6
    braves14 Says:

    5 — Yes, barring injury before then.

  7. 7
    Adam R Says:

    All it took was a 3-for-25 to send Heyward back down that lineup card.

  8. 8
    desert Says:


    Roster? Definitely. Allowed to bat or field anywhere outside a 5 run lead or deficit? Questionable.

  9. 9
    Bethany Says:

    I love to see Heyward when he’s hot, but he’s got too many holes in his swing to ever be a consistently dominant hitter, in my opinion. He struggles to hit both inside pitches and stuff high in the zone.

  10. 10
    desert Says:


    Very true, but it’s also easy to overlook the fact that he’s so freaking young. Heyward’s 2013 season (at age 23) would be equivalent, age-wise, to Chipper’s rookie season. He’s got plenty of time (along with the talent) to figure this stuff out. I wouldn’t write him off being a consistently dominant hitter just yet, but then again, that’s just my opinion.

  11. 11
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    He’s not a perfect player, but he’s 23, and he’s already improved his defense and his baserunning. I think he can keep improving.

  12. 12
    Brian J. Says:

    Maybe we’ll be lucky and get the good Hanson tonight.

  13. 13
    Adam R Says:

    This offseason, the longer it takes for Wren to lock Heyward up, the further into stark raving madness I will descend.

  14. 14
    sansho1 Says:

    Overbay can hit some doubles — or he use to could, anyway.

  15. 15
    Dan Says:

    Would rather Uggla play than Constanza.

  16. 16
    braves14 Says:

    I hate it when guys get thrown out at 3rd.

  17. 17
    Bethany Says:

    Way to go Ross!

  18. 18
    Coop Says:

    Thanks, David.

  19. 19
    Dan Says:

    Caray: “A good throw by David Rice.”

  20. 20
    Tomas Says:

    Boss, David Boss.

  21. 21
    braves14 Says:

    Hanson hits like some random guy off this blog. I think I could go up and hit that well.

  22. 22
    MikeM Says:

    Nice answer by Medlen to a douchey question from Chip. What do you think he’s gonna answer with, Chip? “Well, gee, I guess I’ve noticed that he’s stunk to high heaven the last month.”

  23. 23
    braves14 Says:

    Hanson is actually pitching well tonight.

  24. 24
    Coop Says:

    That worked out nicely, and Medlen is a trip.

  25. 25
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Medlen did kind of suggest that Tommy needs to get in better shape.

  26. 26
    desert Says:


    This may sound crude, but I find it easy to tell how fit a guy (specifically, doesn’t work for gals) is by looking at their forearms. And Tommy’s forearms resemble those of a 30-year old hitting the gym for the first time in his life.

  27. 27
    ububba Says:

    Since coming to the Braves, Reed Johnson is a cool 20 for 61.

  28. 28
    desert Says:

    If you have a pitch count against the Braves, you’re gonna have a bad time.

  29. 29
    braves14 Says:

    Pomeranz is walking a tightrope tonight.

  30. 30
    Nick Says:

    Yep, there’s no doubt that he’s been pretty underratedly (if that’s a word) awesome.

  31. 31
    Nick Says:

    Talking about Reed Johnson, that is.

  32. 32
    desert Says:

    Ha, Tom.

  33. 33
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Have I mentioned recently my dislike of Tommy Hanson?

  34. 34
    Coop Says:


  35. 35
    ububba Says:

    As noted previously, Don really isn’t the greatest play-by-play man. From his description of that HR, you’d have thought it was a double, maybe a triple, to the gap.

    He still hasn’t approached John Sterling territory, but still…

    I was driving home the other night & heard a Sterling call for a HR by Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds. He made it sound like the Yankee LF just ran out of room and the ball barely scraped the back of the fence. It actually went into the second deck. Sterling was wrong by about 100 feet.

  36. 36
    Adam R Says:

    To Tommy’s credit, he was pitcing so well before the CarGo homer that he could still be said to be pitching encouragingly even with it.

  37. 37
    Tomas Says:

    After those two line drives right at the outfielders, what were the odds of Hanson *not* giving up a run this inning… too predictable by far.

  38. 38
    Coop Says:

    I’d like to lay it all on Tommy, but we haven’t taken advantage of the chances we’ve had tonight. We’ve had lots of baserunners, but none have touched home.

  39. 39
    Bethany Says:

    We’ve been really unlucky tonight.

  40. 40
    krussell Says:

    If Simmons is capable of holding a bat he should have been activated yesterday. Janish is terrible. Nice glove, but not a MLB quality player.

  41. 41
    Bethany Says:

    Ok, now you can be mad at Tommy.

  42. 42
    Coop Says:

    Now I feel justified in my continued disdain for Tommy Hanson.

  43. 43
    Coop Says:

    Thanks for the permission, Bethany.

  44. 44
    drewdat Says:

    Owning Braves-era BJ Surhoff wouldn’t be considered a luxury in a third world country, Joe.

  45. 45
    braves14 Says:

    This sucks.

  46. 46
    Coop Says:

    Keep it in the yard, Hanson.

  47. 47
    sansho1 Says:

    Is there any way we could extend the season long enough to see if Hanson’s batting average can get below .010?

  48. 48
    Brian J. Says:

    Shame Hanson can’t hit against Hanson; that’d help his average no end.

  49. 49
    Coop Says:

    This could be the ballgame, I fear.

  50. 50
    Coop Says:

    Regardless of what happens here, I’m glad Fredi went to the pen. I just hope the old Petey is back.

  51. 51
    krussell Says:

    Hanson pitched fine. This offense sucks.

  52. 52
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    With you, Coop. Fredi had to give him the hook, and did.

  53. 53
    Coop Says:


  54. 54
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:


  55. 55
    Tomas Says:

    Progress, Tommy. Now we need the offense to hit stuff not directly at Colorado outfielders.

  56. 56
    Bethany Says:

    Come on offense.

  57. 57
    Parish Says:

    Again, reading the blog, I figured Hanson’s outing had been worse than 2 runs and 8 Ks over 5.2 IP.

    You could almost say Tommy did his job.

    Now, how about some offense?

  58. 58
    drewdat Says:

    Is Janish on deck? If so, why?

  59. 59
    Adam R Says:

    Tommy actually was slightly better than he’s been. Still too many hard-hit balls.

  60. 60
    Bethany Says:

    Dammit, what a cluster.

  61. 61
    MikeM Says:


  62. 62
    Dan Says:

    Good grief.

  63. 63
    drewdat Says:

    Two homers and leaving with the bases loaded. I’d say he did a job.

  64. 64
    Parish Says:

    Now praying for a wild pitch since Ross failed and I have no confidence in Janish.

  65. 65
    Coop Says:

    Alex, the site abides. Mac would be proud.

  66. 66
    Brian J. Says:

    65- Irked at the Braves’ fecklessness this evening, but proud.

  67. 67
    Tad Says:

    LH on the bench and he lets Ross hit there … come on FG … get a clue .. oh why am I asking nthat .. you aint had one all year .. worst late inning mgr in baseball by FAR !!!!!

  68. 68
    Parish Says:

    Yikes – Gameday was slow to let me know that the Braves are trying to cut down on the LOB. What happened with Prado there?

  69. 69
    braves14 Says:

    68 — Ross struck out, Heyward was running on the pitch and got caught in a rundown, while he was running back to first Prado broke for the plate, they threw home and tagged out Prado to end the inning.

  70. 70
    krussell Says:

    I like the station-to-station-play-for-the-home-run gameplan a lot better than running ourselves completely out of innings.

  71. 71
    braves14 Says:

    Uggla looks like Soap from Call of Duty.

  72. 72
    Bethany Says:


  73. 73
    Brian J. Says:

    71- So he should be dropped, then. *badumtish*

  74. 74
    drewdat Says:

    I feel like 2-0 was a little premature to give up by going to Avilan against a righty.

  75. 75
    csg Says:

    Why wasnt Venters or Oflaherty the LH’d option here?

  76. 76
    drewdat Says:

    Oops, switch hitter. Never mind.

  77. 77
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I’m going to predict that we’re not going to win here tonight.

  78. 78
    Brian J. Says:

    Only way Avilan should see the playoffs is on TV or by buying a ticket.

  79. 79
    Bethany Says:

    We suck.

  80. 80
    Brian J. Says:

    Constanza pinch-hits for Janish, which is a classic example of those who wanted Janish lifted needing to be careful what they ask for.

  81. 81
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    NOTE: I am changing the default time of the blog to Eastern Standard Time; for years it has been in the Central Time Zone, but I think the plurality of us are in the Eastern Time Zone, as are the Braves themselves.

  82. 82
    Brian J. Says:

    I’m in the CST/ CDT minority, but that’s fine.

  83. 83
    drewdat Says:

    What an awful strike call.

  84. 84
    drewdat Says:

    Yeah, looks like sitting for so long has really hampered Uggla’s approach. Can hardly recognize him… whiff.

  85. 85
    krussell Says:

    Already looking forward to the lineup that includes Constanza, Janish, Baker, Overbay, and Johnson. Probably could work Pastornicky in there somewhere too.

  86. 86
    drewdat Says:

    Clown o’clock.

  87. 87
    Brian J. Says:

    Thanks, Chad. I’d almost forgotten how much I despise you.

  88. 88
    sansho1 Says:

    The Twins have a 7-run inning and a 10-run inning through five against the White Sox. Perfect game twirler Philip Humber has allowed 9 of 10 batters to reach base. Take that, Tommy Hanson!

  89. 89
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Sigh! Watching the Nats play is such a contrast to the Braves. Aggressive, dynamic, dominant pitching. The Braves may not completely collapse this year but they are not an impressive team at this point. Getting shut out by a nobody again.

    By the way, Adam LaRoche just hit his second home run of the game, 27 for the season. It’s going to be 7.5 after tonight and we can forget about the division.

  90. 90
    sansho1 Says:

    We’ve been aggressive on the basepaths tonight — it just hasn’t worked out. Some nice outfield play, as well. I don’t think you could watch this game and have any problem whatsoever with the effort level or desire to win, unless it’s your thing to sublimate ordinary fan frustration into some sort of blame game.

  91. 91
    csg Says:

    All we need to know

    Braves RISP: 0-7 (D Ross 0-1, P Janish 0-2, T Hanson 0-2, M Prado 0-1, F Freeman 0-1)

  92. 92
    krussell Says:

    We can’t carry Janish’s bat. With a normal McCann and a less sucky Uggla we could probably afford an all-glove no-bat guy…maybe. Not sure you can ever afford play a guy that has an OPS almost in the 400s.

  93. 93
    krussell Says:

    And I haven’t been reading every single thread lately, but have we figured out why our front office has decided that adding a bunch of barely-replacement-level scrubs to the team (Baker, Overbay, Batista, etc) is the way to go? Expanding the roster with crap isn’t going to do anything but send us packing.

  94. 94
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:


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