Adam Eaton ready to make major impact
Monday night, former Miami University RedHawk Adam Eaton (Springfield, Ohio) found himself on the Opening Day roster of the Arizona Diamondbacks. While he received an ovation from the crowd at Chase Field, he was forced to hear the praise from the bench as he is currently on the disabled list.
Eaton was set to be the leadoff hitter and the D-Backs starting center fielder until he felt pain in his throwing arm. It turns out that he suffered a minor tear in his elbow and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.
The 24-year-old was a letter-winner for the Miami squad from 2008 to 2010. He was drafted in the 19th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Diamondbacks. Eaton is the third RedHawk to reach the MLB during current Head Coach Dan Simonds' tenure, joining John Ely of the Los Angeles Dodges and former Florida Marlin Graham Taylor.
Eaton made several quick transitions in the minor leagues, playing eleven games in Double-A Mobile before prior to being promoted to the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League.
After only three years, Eaton found himself in the upper echelon of Minor Leaguers and he has not looked back since. After playing a full season in the Minor League, he ranked first in batting average, hits, doubles and runs scored. Additionally, he ranked second in on-base percentage and reached base safely in 41 straight games last spring, which was the third-longest streak in 2012 Triple-A season.
He thrived during his time with the Reno Aces in 2012. Eaton finished the 2012 season hitting .381 (119-for-338) with seven home runs, 45 RBIs and 38 stolen bases in 119 games. His impressive offensive prowess granted him the Pacific Coast League (PCL) Most Valuable Player award. He was also named to the PCL All-Star team this past season.
The left-hitting center fielder, who is only five-foot-eight, has consistently used his lack of size as a motivation factor. While there are few professional baseball players in his height range, Eaton has proved scouts and opponents wrong time and time again.
It is clear that he has the ability to perform in the majors. He earned a September call-up last year, playing in 22 games. He holds a .259 batting average and two homers in a mere 85 at-bats.
Eaton received the starting position in center field after the D-Backs organization traded All-Star Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves. Having Eaton ready to play centerfield was part of the reason the D-Backs felt comfortable letting go of the talented Upton. Needless to say, Eaton will have some big shoes to fill in Upton's absence. He possesses all the right attributes one looks for in the leadoff role - he steals bases, avoids unnecessary cuts, and has the ability to place the ball into gaps. His impressive speed often makes up for the lack in height. Certainly, he has the potential to be a long-term contributor to the D-Backs squad.
Eaton is often confused with a former MLB pitcher by the same name. In fact, he once accidentally received six checks worth 20,000 dollars each that were meant for the pitcher.
As the recovery process continues, Eaton has his sights set on returning to the field in early May, and then he will have his own opening day.
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