There's been a lot of chatter about possibly trading Justin Upton this offseason, and I've expressed my opinion that Chris Young should be the one that should be traded. Either way, that would leave the Dbacks with Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra as the starting outfielders for next year, which I don't think would be ideal. Hence, I was REALLY excited to see the debut of Adam Eaton last night because I believe he could be the starting center fielder for the Dbacks in 2013.
Adam Eaton attended Miami University of Ohio and posted consistently impressive numbers in college, culminating in a slash line of .368/.466/.709 his final year playing mostly center field. However, there are a lot of guys that post impressive numbers from small schools, and also the fact that Eaton is only 5'8" contributed to him being pretty much an unknown going into the 2010 MLB draft. Be it luck or skill, the Dbacks drafted Eaton in the 19th round, and he may end up being the saving grace of that draft, as it looks like it will turn out being the worst draft that Tom Ellison was in charge of during his time with the Dbacks.
Eaton was immediately assigned to Rookie ball at Missoula and crushed the league to the tune of .385/.500/.575. Again, it was met with a general "meh" in the scouting community as a 21 year old beating up on a bunch of 18-19 year olds is nothing new in rookie ball.
In 2011, Eaton was assigned to High A at Visalia and continued to post solid numbers, running the bases well, and getting recognized for his hard work and hustle. Scouts started taking a note of the fact that he was making good contact at the plate and could possibly play center field at the major league level. After about half a season at Visalia, Eaton was promoted to AA at Mobile and didn't miss a beat, hitting .302/.409/.429, which could be considered legit for a 22 year old center fielder in a tough hitters league.
2012 was where Eaton finally became a player that scouts took notice. He started the season in Mobile, but after only 11 games, was promoted to AAA at Reno where he crushed the ball. The Pacific Coast League is a hitters haven, but he was able to be the dominant player and as most of you know, became the PCL Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Along the way, Eaton passed by AJ Pollock (former 1st round pick) on the Dbacks prospect list as the best outfield prospect in the organization by some.
As I've mentioned previously, it looks like all signs pointing to the Dbacks trading either CY or Upton in the offseason. Ideally, CY will get traded, which will allow the Dbacks to run out Kubel in left, Eaton in center, and Upton in right. Parra will continue to get a lot of games, probably even more next year as the fact that Kubel playing 140+ games this year is the exception in his career, not the rule. I'm looking forward to seeing Eaton play the rest of this month, and hopefully have the chance to be the starting center fielder as well as the lead off man that the Dbacks have been looking for for years.
I know every fan of every team thinks Keith Law hates their team. However, in today's post, Keith Law did a breakdown of Adam Eaton. Here's the link:
I know everybody doesn't have ESPN Insider, but out of respect for the site, I won't copy and paste the info. However, to give you guys a summary, Law thought Eaton didn't play defense well enough in the Arizona Fall League to play center field every day, and he doesn't hit well enough to play corner outfield every day (remind anyone of another outfielder?). However, over the course of this season, Law says Eaton's improved his defense dramatically and now views him as an above average starter in center.