2010-01-18

Player Hater's Ball - January Edition

Hate hate hate hate hate hate!
We all hate. Some pretend they don’t, but deep down inside, they know they do.
Hate is one of the purest emotions, and can really inspire some people to achieve greater heights than they normally perform at. So, welcome to the inaugural edition of 1 Blue Jays Way’s Player Haters Ball. It happens that during your time as a fan of The Toronto Blue Jays, or any sports team really, that there are players who you just don’t like. It isn’t necessarily that they perform poorly, or they act a certain way to the paying public. It could just be that you don’t like their face. It’s a hard thing to come to grips with, being that you watch this player routinely and he is a highly trained athlete who performs at a high level, but you just want him to do a little bit more. And until he does, you hate him. I’ve brought along a friend to help dispense the hate: 2002 Hater of the year, Silky Johnson.
January’s Subject:
Lyle Stefan Overbay (born January 28, 1977 in Centralia, Washington) was drafted by the Arizona Diamond Backs in the 18th round of the 1999 Amateur Draft. Overbay was acquired by the Brewers in the trade on December 1, 2003 that sent Richie Sexson and Shane Nance to Arizona for Overbay, Craig Counsell, Junior Spivey, Chris Capuano, Chad Moeller, and Jorge de la Rosa. On December 7, 2005, Overbay was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers along with pitching prospect Ty Taubenheim to Toronto in exchange for outfielder Gabe Gross and pitchers Dave Bush and Zach Jackson. Overbay was brought to Toronto in the hopes of former GM J. P. Ricciardi to be the player that would get on base and hit a shit-tonne of doubles. Why do I hate this man? Let’s have a look at the first base position around the majors.
2009 Home Run Leaders
6 of the top 10 leaders in homeruns in the Major Leagues were first basemen.
2009 RBI Leaders
5 of the top 10 leaders in runs batted in, were first basemen, including the top 4.
2009 Batting Average Leaders
4 of the top 10 leaders in batting average, were first basemen.
Say what? You’re saying, what the fuck does it all mean? My answer is simply this. We are in the toughest division in baseball; I think most reading this would agree. We go up against the New York Yankess and Boston Red Sox a lot more than other teams, and we have a first basemen with the potency of a daffodil. The Yankess have Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox have Kevin Youkilis and the Rays have Carlos Pena. Every day “The Cito” pencils in a lineup that includes Overbay at 1B, lets have a look at how the stats add up in our own division;
2009 – AL East Division First Basemen:
Player
AVG
OBP
SLG
2Bs
HRs
RBIs
Runs
Mark Teixerira
.292
.383
.565
43
39
122
103
Carlos Pena
.227
.356
.537
25
39
100
91
Kevin Youkilis
.306
.413
.548
36
27
94
99
Lyle Overbay
.265
.372
.466
35
16
64
57
How about the 2009 Major League Division Winners:
Player
AVG
OBP
SLG
2Bs
HRs
RBIs
Runs
Mark Teixerira, NYY
.292
.383
.565
43
39
122
103
Justin Morneau, MIN
.271
.363
.516
31
30
100
85
Kendry Morales, LAA
.306
.355
.569
43
34
108
86
Kevin Youkilis
.306
.413
.548
36
27
94
99
Ryan Howard
.279
.360
.571
37
45
141
105
Albert Pujols
.327
.423
.658
45
47
135
124
James Loney
.281
.357
.399
25
13
90
73
Todd Helton
.325
.416
.489
38
15
86
79
Lyle Overbay
.265
.372
.466
35
16
64
57
1B Lyle Overbay

Lyle's DiamondView shows us Toronto's problem in a nutshell: an average player (32) with below-average defense with at least one major hole in his tool belt--all at a premium position on the field that is completely dominated by three other teams in the division. He is an average first baseman with the stick, good for an OBPs of .315, .358, and .372 for the past three years while barely squeezing out an ISO of .151, .149, and .201 over the same period. One might notice that this latest year has actually been an uptick, so expect him to regress to the mean a bit for 2010.
While some would suggest that his value is his glove, even a quick glance at his UZR for the past three years shows a precipitous drop from 3.9 to 2.9 to -0.6 (and that's ignoring his -5.2 in 2006!). And if you're holding out for discipline on the base path, you're holding out for a guy that will never get caught stealing because he never tries. That said there are Ford Pintos running better than Mr. Overbay here. 

 
Yikes! Our first baseman blows ass comparatively speaking of course. There could be a correlation to be made between have a first baseman that can rake and wins. Both of which the Blue Jays are lacking in.

Courtesy of Beyond the Boxscore once again: Our AL East DiamondView journey comes to a close, and with it, any mystery why the standings turned out the way they did in 2009. With unexpected precision, this method shows that the teams with the better starters in the ON BASE and POWER categories came in the exact same order as they appear in the standings. While the obvious remains obvious, this visual is certainly enlightening:
Al-east-standings_medium

So here is my first of many season-long Lyle Overbay sucks posts. I hate him; I mean I truly hate this man. When I think about the position and the venerable wasteland that it has become in Toronto and the mounds of talented big men who hit BOMBS at that position, it angers me. Let’s please move this man and let Brett “Thunder Thighs” Wallace step in. Maybe then we’d get some production from the position. Until that day Lyle Overbay is a hated man. Lyle, you can’t hit, you’re always hurt and you’re a money-ball player, except for the fact that you are not a “player” at all really. You just kinda stand there, getting paid to do a mediocre job at a position that mashers play at. So for that Lyle, I hate you.
Take it Silky: “The only balls that Lyle Overbay takes a swing at are those belonging to other dudes.”

7 comments:

  1. I guess you could say that my Vernon post covered the December edition of Player Hater's Ball.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your hatred of Overbay seems to be along the same lines as hating your girlfriend because she doesn't have an ass like Jennifer Lopez circa 1998... If you coulda traded Dave Bush to P-Diddy for a weekend of tappin' that ass, then that's one thing. But it wasn't like the Jays were gonna steal Youk or Howard for the package they sent Milwakee (or anything, for that matter), and they certainly weren't going to outbid the Yankees... Pena is about the only guy on your list that the Jays realistically could have had (perhaps Loney, but Overbay has better power numbers in fewer ABs), and he was such a terrible player before 2007 that you would have puked (out of pure rage, I can only imagine) if the Jays had planned on using him as their every-day 1B.

    While I agree with the premise of your argument - winning teams need some very good (if not great) players - I wholeheartedly disagree that you MUST have a 1B who can hit 30+ HRs in order to be a contender.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never really been one to hate on Overbay, but I can see where you're coming from. After that monster 2006 season with the Jays, Lyle has failed to come even close to reproducing those numbers.

    Another thing that makes him look really bad is if you stack him up against other elite first baseman in the American League. He can't hold a candle to Teixeira, Morneau, Youk, and Cabrera - but overall, I don't think he's as bad as some people would believe.

    Perfectly mediocre!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the comment, but after a little research on the connection between power numbers at first base and winning, I found this. Let’s take a look at the last 10 World Series Champions and see who played first base for them:

    2009 – Mark Teixeira, NYY
    2008 – Ryan Howard, PHI
    2007 – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
    2006 – Albert Pujols, STL
    2005 – Paul Konerko, CHI
    2004 – Kevin Youkilis, BOS
    2003 – Derrek Lee, FLA
    2002 – Scott Spiezio
    2001 – Mark Grace
    2000 – Tino Martinez

    I think with the exception of maybe Scott Spiezio (.285/12/82), and Mark Grace (.298/15/78) all of them are mashers, no? I would hazard a guess that indeed there is a correlation between having a premium position like first base staffed with someone who can hit and wins. I'm down on Overbay because he is playing at a premium position that you can put player who rake.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would say that, in general, there is a correlation between having players that can mash the ball and winning - it doesn't matter what position they're playing. First base just happens to be a popular place to put such a player, since it involves the least amount of movement of any fielding position. Kevin Youkilis didn't actually play 1B for the 2004 Sox (the time was split between Millar, Mientkiewicz, and occasionally Ortiz - Millar and Mienty combined for 19 HRs for the Sox), and 2007 Youk had a .288/.390/.453 line with 16 HRs and 83 RBIs - barely better than Overbay's 2009 stat line. And that's including playing half his games with the benefit of the big green turn-your-flyouts-into-doubles monster.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with you on that one, that it doesn't matter the position. I'm not hating on Overbay just to hate him, I just think, traditionally the 1B position is a spot filled by big dudes with average defense. And if we have a Randy Ruiz or Brian Dopirak or Brett Wallace that can potentially mash, maybe we should see what they can do. Because if Wallace, Ruiz and Dopirak rake in spring training, how can you have those 3 guys and Overbay fighting for 2 positions, 1B and DH. We have pictures of Ruiz in the Of, its not pretty

    ReplyDelete
  7. ok. Overbay isn't that bad. The whole team is bad.
    Play him against righties
    AB 344, 15HR, OBP . 396, SLG .509, AVG. 282.
    Now the problem is they need someone for the other 200 atbats that can hit lefties: Ruiz, Lind, Bautista, Wallace etc... can any of them hit a lefty?

    ReplyDelete

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