I know we are not supposed to be giddy about Spring Training statistics, particularly when the calendar shows that it is still February. However, how can someone not love the fact that through four games, Adam Eaton has been rolling. The reigning Pacific Coast League MVP wants to leave no doubt as to who the starting center fielder should be in 2013 and beyond for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is hitting .462 in 13 at-bats with one home run and four runs batted in while slugging .692. Surprisingly, he has not walked or stolen a base yet, something he will be expected to do plenty of once the regular season begins.
Adam Eaton is hitting almost .500 so far in Spring Training. Image: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Eaton stands at 5 foot 8, small by professional athletic standards so perhaps it is easy to see why mlb.com had him down at #97 on their list of Top 100 Prospects. It is just another slight in the career of the D’backs’ 19th round pick in the 2010 draft. I know that hitting numbers can be skewed when playing in the PCL but Eaton’s .381 batting average is impressive no matter where you play your games. Frankly, it’s almost an insult that he was ranked so low. It is why he continues to be the first to arrive at the team’s facility and the last one to leave. When Chris Young was dealt last October, it was widely assumed that Eaton would become the starting center fielder the following season. Then Cody Ross was signed creating a glut of outfielders (including first round pick A.J. Pollock) that was not relieved until Justin Upton was traded. Even then, there were a few places that were saying Eaton had to earn the starting job while others (like me) had already penciled him in as the every-day center fielder and leadoff hitter.
I am one who believes Adam Eaton will have a huge impact on the D’backs this season. I think he will quickly become a fan favorite with his all-out hustle and defense and be the type of guy who can disrupt the timing of pitchers. When the favorites are listed for National League Rookie of the Year, I expect his name to be toward the top of the list. If it is not, it will just be one more set of doubters that he will prove wrong.
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