Monday, January 23, 2012

Prospect Nation 2012: #21 1B Cody Overbeck

Cody Overbeck has proven himself to be an impact slugger after slamming 48 total homeruns and driving in 154 runs across three levels of the Philadelphia developmental ranks from 2010-2011. Throughout his time in the Philadelphia system, Overbeck, who is regarded for his quick hands and his ability to drive the ball, has been valuable to every lineup he has swung a bat for.

Formerly a third baseman through his first three seasons in the minor leagues, Overbeck, a 6-foot-1-inch 200-pounder, dabbled in the outfield and was primarily a first baseman in 2011 with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The experience for Overbeck increased his versatility.

This past season, the right-handed hitting Overbeck wrecked Eastern League pitching to the tune of a .275 batting average, 18 HR and 46 RBI through 62 games with the Double-A Reading Phillies before he was promoted to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Under manager Ryne Sandberg, Overbeck had a slow start, but came back strong to help the the Pigs reach the post season. In 68 regular season games with Lehigh Valley, Overbeck batted .279, with 6 HR and 26 RBI. His power drop, after jumping levels in 2011, was evident, as his .532 slugging percentage with Reading looked far greater than his .416 slugging percentage with Lehigh.

The Tennessee native spent time this off-season playing in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a .321 batting average with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homerun, 7 RBI and a .457 slugging percentage in 24 games. With the Scottsdale Scorpions, Overbeck spent time at first base and designated hitter.

Overbeck was named a Florida State League All-Star in 2010, as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, when he sported a .302 average with 11 HR and 41 RBI in 58 games. He missed the actual All-Star game as he was promoted to Reading before he could take part in the annual exhibition. With Reading, he went on to bash 13 more homers and drive in 41 runs in 78 games.

In his first two seasons as a pro, with short-season A level Williamsport and High A Clearwater, Overbeck tallied 24 homeruns and a .249 batting average in 171 games.

Defensively, Overbeck was never highly regarded for his range at the hot corner, but he adapted rather quickly to changes in the field last year and seemed to be strong at first base and left field. For many guys with a bat that commands playing time, not being a liability in the field is key, but Overbeck was above average at first and could certainly improve further with more time there.

Originally a 9th round draft choice in 2008, the 25-year-old Overbeck heads into a season on the verge of crossing into the Matt Rizzotti zone, as an older prospect with a great list of minor league accomplishments who the organization simply doesn't have full confidence in to provide a shot at the big leagues. Less than favorable for the University of Mississippi product are the additions of players like Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton, who have plenty of big league experience at the positions where Overbeck has played.

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2012 Countdown thus far...
#22- David Buchanan
#23- Garett Claypool
#24- Cameron Rupp
#25- Austin Wright & Aaron Altherr (tie)

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