Adam Eaton Can Still
Overcome Injury, Win ROY
Arizona Diamondbacks Rookie Might Miss More Than Eight Weeks To An Elbow Injury, But When Healthy He Is Almost As Good As Mike Trout
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
March 23, 2013 — If the Diamondbacks are lucky, the team may already have a budding star on its roster to replace the departed Justin Upton. For, if this spring is any indication, centerfielder Adam Eaton could develop into a poor man's Mike Trout.
Yes, he will be on the sidelines for probably two months, rehabbing his sore right elbow. But it just might be a blessing in disguise since he can roll into September fresh and likely on a roll.
Now, before anyone calls for the internet comment version of a public flogging on me for such an assertion, let me clarify. I do not expect Eaton to approach Trout's singularly historic rookie season or come close to replicating his stellar slash line (.326/.399/.564). However, I do believe Eaton could bring an interesting mix of skills that mirror Trout's, albeit on a smaller scale.
Call him Trout Light.
Eaton is quite a bit smaller than Trout was at the beginning of last season, and the diminutive Diamondbacks rookie will not put up the same type of power numbers (30 HRs) that Trout did. He is not going to close the gap in physical size (at least not without some help from Ryan Braun). But, Eaton is showing more pop in his bat and power behind his swing than expected (he clubbed two home runs, knocked in 10 and put up a .536 slugging percentage as of March 20).
Additionally, Eaton's road to the majors is similar to Trout's. After spending a few years tearing up minor league pitching, he has had two cups of coffee with the major league team over the past two seasons, where his performances were underwhelming overall but showed glimpses of his rare potential.
Eaton really showed that he can cover ground in centerfield last year, posting a 12.975 zone rating, according to ESPN. That figure easily best's Trout's rating in centerfield, which was 9.429.
On offense, Eaton has the potential to provide much the same spark that Trout did for the Angels last year. While he may not hit 30 home runs, Eaton is capable of reaching double digits, while adding five to 10 triples and between 30 and 40 doubles.
But even when Eaton is hitting singles, he is dangerous. Just like Trout, the speedy centerfielder is capable of stealing 40 to 50 bases in a year. Last season, in fact, he set a career high, stealing 44 bases between AA and AAA.
Eaton is not Trout. But he just may be a rookie of the year.
Eaton is not Trout. But he is a talented defensive centerfielder with the skills at the plate to drive a contender.
Eaton is not Trout. And that may save the Diamondbacks in the long run.
Given Kevin Tower's penchant for shipping away bright young talent and the mid-market salary constraints faced by the Diamondbacks, a poor man's Mike Trout may be the best of both worlds for the ballclub, a valuable young cornerstone that can help the team now and in the long run.
But all of this might be moot if he can’t stay on the field. Last season’s season ending injury was a fluke and the elbow injury this Spring won’t need surgery — as of now at least.
But sometimes luck has everything to do with it.
Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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