Phillies Prospect #29: Cody Overbeck

Cody Overbeck made an ambitious leap over the Low-A level last season and spent the year with High-A Clearwater. He ran into a few hurdles, but came through the experience in pretty good shape and primed for bigger and better things in 2010.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 9th round of the 2008 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 210 pounds
Birth Date: June 5, 1986
2009 Team(s): Clearwater
Positions/Games: 3B (73 G)
School: University of Mississippi
2009 Ranking: 29

Why Overbeck stayed at #29: After a very strong start to his minor league career at Williamsport in 2008, the Phillies pushed Cody Overbeck past Lakewood and directly on to High-A Clearwater. While the numbers weren't staggering, they certainly weren't bad for a player in Overbeck's position and his best months were in July and August, showing that he was making the adjustments that he needed to make to hit the better quality pitching that he was facing in the Florida State League. Technically, his power numbers dropped when you consider that he had 76 more at-bats in 2009 than the previous season and hit the same number of home runs (12) as in his debut season with Williamsport, but the fact that he skipped Lakewood and still hit 12 home runs at Clearwater shows that he certainly wasn't overmatched. While his stats would have likely been higher had he gone to Lakewood, the experience of an early look at the Florida State League may pay off a lot for Overbeck.

Category Cody Overbeck Florida State League
PA/2B 21.5 23.9
PA/3B - 140.5
PA/HR 32.3 70.8
PA/RBI 7.6 10.0
PA/R 10.5 9.1
PA/BB 16.8 12.1
PA/KO 3.7 5.3
AVG .230 .252
OBP .282 .322
SLG .399 .363
Categories with numbers in white show areas where the player outperformed the average player in the their league during the 2009 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: One area of concern with Overbeck is his strikeout rate, which reached one strikeout for every 3.7 plate appearances in 2009. Even throughout college, Overbeck wasn't the most disciplined hitter and was a little over-anxious at the plate at times and he hasn't been able to improve on that part of his game, although there's still time. On the upside, he drew walks at a faster rate in 2009 than he did at Williamsport - one walk for every 16.8 plate appearances - but there is still room for continued improvement on that front. From the time that he was a sophomore in college, teams have watched Overbeck's power develop and once he develops a little more plate discipline, he should be able to truly show off his power. 

Baserunning and Speed: Overbeck doesn't excel in the speed category. He's actually got below-average speed and his base running instincts are only average, so he's not ever going to be someone who you want to have as a base runner, because that's simply not part of his game. 

Defense: Knowing that defense was a part of his game that would hold him back, Overbeck has worked very hard to be a better defensive player and it's paying off. Usually when he gets himself into trouble defensively, it's because of poor mechanics - especially footwork - but he's closed a lot of those holes and improved his fielding percentage last season at Clearwater. In order to not keyhole himself into being a DH type player, Overbeck will still need to continue to improve defensively so he can be considered at least an average defensive third baseman. His arm is average, but he wasn't making the most of it, because his mechanics were taking away from his arm strength and accuracy. It's going to be interesting to see how Overbeck progresses defensively in 2010.

Projection: The Phillies have had Overbeck working with the Double-A squad this spring, but there are no guarantees that he'll stick at that level and start the year at Reading. Instead, he may be back at Clearwater for just a short time before heading north to play Double-A ball. This is a hard-working player who will likely close a lot of the holes in his game and start to truly develop as a prospect. Don't underestimate how tough it is to go from short-season ball to the High-A level the next season without at least some time at Low-A. While Overbeck is going to need more work, he shouldn't disappoint and should become good enough to start projecting how he might fit in at the major league level someday.

Cody Overbeck's career stats

2008 Williamsport 12 57 .272 75 290 37 79 18 0 1 1 12 65
2009 Clearwater 12 51 .230 96 361 37 83 23 1 0 0 23 105
2 Seasons 24 108 .249 171 651 74 162 41 1 1 1 35 170

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