Cody Overbeck held off a couple challengers during the preseason and secured his spot at the hot corner all season. Last fall, Overbeck took the lead over Evan Button, Dan Black and Devin Hicks before finally beating out Button and Hicks in the spring. The then-sophomore started 60 games and hit .288 with 16 doubles and 14 home runs, both team highs. Overbeck's cons last year were late-season defense and quality at-bats. He struck out a team-leading 52 times and grounded into seven double plays. Also, Overbeck made some crucial fielding errors in the postseason that dampened his full body of work. Overall, a solid year but not incredible given the expectations. It was also Overbeck's first year in the infield after being a part-time outfielder his freshman season. He suffered 17 errors, almost double the next closest fielder.
Logan Williams has produced with the bat since arriving in Oxford but needs to sure up his defense to make a strong run at the third base job. The freshman has hit his way into a spot on the travel roster and will get a chance to test himself this season. He has significant gap power and has done an admirable job of putting the ball in play and providing quality at-bats. Williams is beginning to look more comfortable in the field after spending the winter working on his defense. Out of the true freshmen position players, he may pose the biggest threat for regular playing time. Williams hit over .300 in the fall and already has a good knack for picking out pitches to hit.
Overbeck is the locked-in favorite at third base, but he may not necessarily stay at that position all season. He has the most power potential of anyone on the roster, so his bat must be in the lineup everyday. However, he struggles defensively and is more natural at first base than third. Other players around Overbeck may dictate where he is located on the playing field. Mike Bianco is determined to get production from the first base position this season, so if Cullan Kight and Matt Smith slack, Overbeck may be called over as he is the best fielding option on that side of the diamond. Also, Williams or another infielder must show enough promise to be trusted with the third base spot. That hasn't happened yet, but it is something to keep in mind. For now, Overbeck will play third and make up for his occasional error with a tremendous bat. He doesn't need to make the circus play, but the routine chances have to be converted defensively.
Overbeck has added some weight and is a force offensively. He will play somewhere, and that place appears to be third base to start the season. Williams can also swing it, so you will see him get a chance to take some hacks. If his defense continues to develop, then he could be more than a late-game sub or pinch hitter as the season progresses.
Position Preview: Third Base
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