First of all, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year. Now it’s on to the good stuff.
Amid all of the rumors and deals involving the outfield of the Arizona Diamondbacks, one player will be entering Spring Training under a tremendous amount of pressure. I am not talking about you-know-who in right field. The man under the microscope will be center fielder, Adam Eaton. If he starts off slowly two weeks into the regular season, we could see Eaton sent back to Class AAA Reno before the actual season of Spring begins.
When Chris Young was traded in October to the Oakland A’s, it seemed as though that the D’backs were ready to turn over the center field job to the Pacific Coast League MVP. Even after the the multi-year deal that was recently handed to Cody Ross, I believe the job is still Eaton’s to lose. Fellow VenomStrikes staff member Christian Moffett thinks that Ross will get the nod over Eaton based on his experience and production. That is an excellent point, however based on the renewed emphasis on speed and defense, Eaton will be the projected starter, in my opinion. Therein lies the pressure for the rookie. He will be playing an important position on a team that expects to contend for the National League West championship. If he starts out badly, the team probably won’t hesitate to give Ross or even Gerardo Parra the starting spot. Eaton has minor league options so he could be sent back to Reno or become an extra outfielder in Arizona. Also, it is not like Eaton is a high draft pick that the team has a significant monetary commitment to. He is a 19th round draft pick that can be shuttled back and forth as the organization sees fit.
I hope Adam Eaton is the Opening Day center fielder. In his limited time in the Major Leagues, he has shown flashes of brilliance such as that unforgettable double play in San Diego. He also brings an element of speed on the bases that is unique in baseball today. I don’t expect him to hit .373 like he did in the PCL. I will take .280 with a .375 on-base percentage and 45 stolen bases. We could then be looking another D’back finishing in the Top Five for Rookie of the Year honors.
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