Mark Teixeira is quickly reminding Yankee fans why Lyle Overbay belongs on the bench. For the past few weeks I have read articles and heard numerous callers on WFAN say Overbay should continue to play first base when Teixeira returned from the DL. Just another classic example of fans being caught up in the moment and asking the “What have you done for me lately?” question.
In his first seven games back, Teixeira has hit 3 home runs and drove in 8 runs. He is batting just .227 but that is bound to rise quickly as he settles in. Teixeira has gotten off to poor starts the last several seasons and it was crucial for him to get off to a good start with the early season success from his replacement, Lyle Overbay. He is hitting .251 with 8 home runs and 29 RBI. Which was far more than anyone could have expected out of Overbay.
With that being said, there is no comparison between the two players. Overbay is a nice player and has filled in admirably, but he has never produced at this level for an entire season. Teixeira’s 162 game average numbers are 37 home runs and 119 RBI compared to Overbay’s 17 home runs and 72 RBI. It’s shouldn’t even have crossed fans minds, Teixeira deserved to be slotted right back into his starting role and he has wasted no time in proving that.
I do think it was an interesting move for the Yankees to try Overbay in right field. He has produced at a high enough level that his bat is a plus in the line up. With the lack of production coming out of Ichiro and Vernon Wells recent decline, Overbay could provide left-handed power in the outfield at times. It will be interesting going forward to see just how much Joe Girardi puts him out there. I would play him in smaller ballparks where he wouldn’t have to cover as much ground as he is just learning the position.
The biggest benefactor from Teixeira returning to the line up is going to be Robinson Cano. He is the best hitter in this line up and Teixeira will provide some much-needed protection for the MVP candidate, although I don’t expect anyone to beat out Miguel Cabrera for that award. Not to mention the tremendous defense the 5-time gold glove winner brings to this infield. Defense at first base is often overlooked, but when you have someone of Teixeira’s caliber over there it is a real game changer. He puts the rest of the infield at ease knowing how good he is around the bag and takes stress off of feeling throws have to be perfect every time.
I don’t expect to be hearing many more callers on the radio wanting Overbay to start over Teixeira as the weeks by.