Adam Eaton Makes MLB Debut in Style
Multiple media outlets, including Baseball News Source, have speculated about an off-season deal that would send Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Elvis Andrus. The initial performance of 23-year-old outfield prospect Adam Eaton could make the potential trade more palatable for Arizona.
The diminutive Eaton, who stands at 5-foot-8 and was a 19th round pick in 2010 out of Miami (Ohio) University, has hit safely in all three games since he was called up from Triple-A Reno when center fielder Chris Young experienced a quad injury last Monday. The left-handed hitting Eaton is 5-for-16 (.313) and has made several spectacular catches in his brief Major League stint.
Trade speculation linking Upton and Andrus has gained steam because the Rangers have 19-year-old phenom Jurickson Profar who can replace Andrus at shortstop and they could lose sluggers Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, who are eligible for free agency at season’s end.
The Diamondbacks traded underperforming shortstop Stephen Drew to the A’s last month but do no have a clear-cut shortstop of the future in their farm system that is Major League ready. Chris Owings, a 21-year-old shortstop at Double-A Mobile, is not expected to be Major League ready until 2014, so Andrus would fill a void in Arizona.
The Diamondbacks already have Jason Kubel and Young as established Major League starting outfielders. The 25-year-old Gerardo Parra is hitting .270 in 345 at-bats, but he appears best suited as a fourth outfielder. That leaves an opportunity for a hungry prospect like Eaton if Upton is traded.
Eaton has worked his way to top prospect status. According to MLB.com, he is Arizona’s sixth-best prospect and the highest-rated outfielder in the system. Eaton offers proof that size doesn’t necessarily matter in baseball. In parts of three minor league seasons, he has a .355 average, a .456 on-base percentage, a .510 slugging percentage and a .966 OPS in 1,451 plate appearances.
In 2012, Eaton led the minors by hitting .375 with 198 hits, 47 doubles and 130 runs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. His .456 on-base percentage was second overall in the minors, and he added seven home runs, 48 RBI, five triples and 44 stolen bases.