On Tuesday, reporting three days early for what is likely his final spring training with the Jays, first baseman Lyle Overbay reflected on suggestions in some quarters that in the absence of any better options, he might be the best of the worst choices for Jays' leadoff heading into the 2010 season.
"It's my speed, my speed, they're dogging my speed," Overbay joked. "Honestly, I would think that, but I was in the two-hole a couple of years ago and it's different. I thought it would be the same, but you do see different pitching.
"I saw so many good pitches to hit early in the count in the two-hole. I don't do very well in that situation. In certain situations I'll be aggressive, but in others I'm not. They force the situation, but when you're not feeling good, you end up taking a little more pitches. When you're in the two-hole you can't do that. They're not wanting to set the table for the guys behind you."
Overbay's logic is almost the opposite of accepted logic for tactics batting at the top of the order. He's saying that the more patient you are the worse it is because they're attacking you more because they don't want to fall behind and lose you setting the table for guys like Vernon Wells....uh, bad example.
The acceptable logic has always been that the 1-2 hitters should take a pitch or two so that the pitcher doesn't escape with a low-pitch inning and especially to allow other hitters to get a look at the pitcher's entire repertoire and tendencies. What Overbay is saying is that it's not such a great idea to be taking (as is his tendency) when the first two pitches are strikes and you find yourself stuck in a pitcher's count.
In any case, Overbay in the two-hole was a bad idea. Overbay as leadoff is worse. Even he thinks so.