A.J. Pollock has been just fine in center field for the D’backs in 2014. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason, it opened the door for A.J. Pollock to become the primary centerfielder. Up until his surprising departure, it was widely assumed that Eaton would be the man in center for the foreseeable future. The former Pacific Coast League MVP was everything, it seemed, the organization wanted in a player: tough, scrappy and fearless. Pollock went into the season with some pressure to replace a somewhat popular figure.
So far, he has delivered quite nicely. It helps that the Notre Dame product had a fine first full season in the Majors in 2013. Pollock has done well so far mainly hitting in either the #7 or #8 spot. He has four home runs and nine RBI’s with a line of .286/.339/.500. The former first round pick has decent gap power and good speed as evidenced by his eight doubles and two triples. He has also swiped five of six bases.
So how is Eaton doing? He got off to a hot start at the plate, hitting .321 over the first two weeks. He was also leading the American League in runs scored for a time as the White Sox have hovered around .500 after losing 99 games last year. However, in a scene that is familiar to D’backs’ fans, Eaton landed on the disabled list, this time with a strained hamstring. He hasn’t played a game since May 2nd but is scheduled to start a rehab assignment this week.
If you were to compare the two players, you might say that Eaton has a slight edge in overall skill set. However, skills mean nothing when you make frequent trips to the DL, as Eaton has over the past three seasons. Pollock has played a solid center field and is solid with the bat. He is more than capable of patrolling the outfield for this season and as long as he remains in Arizona.