Overbay a Gold-Glover?

Mike TreadgoldContributor IJune 12, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 04:  Lyle Overbay #17  of the Toronto Blue Jays makes a play to first and throws out Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the second inning at Angels Stadium on July 4, 2008 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

These guys can play defense too!

Lost in the limelight of the Toronto Blue Jays' hitting barrage throughout the first two and a half months of the 2009 season has been some outstanding defensive play from the team's corner infielders, Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay. While defensive prowess is expected from Rolen, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, the Big O, as he is affectionately named by many of the Toronto faithful, has been equally stellar across the diamond and is deserving of mention among the game's top defensive first-sackers.

The 32-year-old Overbay's tenure in Toronto has been marked by numerous highs and lows. In 2006, his first season with the club, Overbay hit .312 with 22 home runs and 92 runs batted in, all of which were career highs at the time. In 2007 and 2008, however, Overbay's play was marked by injuries and inconsistency that saw his popularity wane.

The 2009 season seems to reflect a return to the Overbay of '06 though, as Lyle went into today's game against Florida batting .293 with 7 home runs and 32 runs batted in, good for third place on the team in all three categories.

With Overbay's contributions at the plate returning to normal, focus now shifts to his defensive abilities where he is yet to commit an error at first base through his first 46 games, a remarkable statistic and one that should place him in the running for a Gold Glove award.

Overbay's quick glove and outstanding footwork have halted many opposition rallies and his arm strength and accuracy is arguably unequalled by any fellow first baseman in the league.

Playing in Toronto, Overbay's contributions go largely unnoticed by many American baseball fans and media personalities but that does not change the fact that he is surely deserving of such an honour. If the team continues to win and Overbay continues to put up outstanding defensive statistics while helping his cause at the plate there will be no argument against the fourth-year Jay winning the award at season's end and finally receive the recognition he is due.