Scouting Diamondbacks Prospect Adam Eaton
Adam Eaton was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 19th round in the 2010 draft out of Miami University of Ohio. He made his professional debut in 2010 at rookie ball and since then, he has done nothing but hit. This is his third year in the minors and he has hit above .300 at each stop along the way. He started off 2012 at AA Mobile and after only 51 plate appearances, he was promoted to AAA Reno. He has been arguably the best hitter in the minor leagues this year, hitting .373/.452/.519 with 7 homeruns. His .373 average is the best in all of minor league baseball.
Anyone who follows prospects and the minor leagues can tell you that there is only so much you can take out of stats when evaluating a player. I had the chance to see Eaton a few times when Reno came to Tacoma for a four game series last week. Is Eaton going to go out and compete for batting titles at the next level? I don’t believe so but there is a very good chance that Eaton will contribute at the next level and have a solid major league career.
One of the biggest knocks on Eaton his is size. The 23 year old stands 5’8” 185lb and bats and throws left handed. He is small but has a thick body with good strength. He is a scrappy, grinder type player that goes out and plays hard.
Eaton’s best tool is by far his bat. He has a line drive oriented swing and he goes out and makes a lot of hard contact to all parts of the field. He starts his swing off with a balanced, even stance but begins to shift his weight to his back leg when the pitcher is ready and then transfers his weight to his front foot when the pitch is delivered. His swing differs in that sometimes it has a very large leg kick, and other times it is not nearly as big. This can be seen in the video at the end of the article. He has a quick bat and does a good job getting the barrel of the bat on the ball and keeping the barrel in the zone. He is a patient batter at the plate and has a good idea of the strike zone. He should post solid walk numbers at the next level while keeping the strikeout numbers down. His hit tool his is only plus tool and he has the stuff to bat 1 or 2 in a major league lineup.
Eaton does not have much homerun power. He did not hit many out of the park in batting practice but he consistently squared it up, finding the gaps. I don’t think we’ll ever see him hit double digit homeruns in a single season in his career but he finds the gaps well and could hit a good amount of doubles.
Eaton’s arm is above average and he does a good job getting rid of the ball. He has good arm strength and his arm fits at any of the three outfield spots.
Eaton is a very aggressive fielder which can be both good and bad. He gets a good jump on the ball and goes all out to get there but sometimes he can be a bit reckless. He needs work reading the ball off the bat as well as his route running. There were a couple times in center where he almost completely overran the ball. There were also some times where he had to lay out for a ball that other center fielders would have easily got to. When I saw him he spent time in both center and right, sharing time with A.J. Pollock. There is no doubt that the Diamondbacks want him to stick in center where he has the most value but his tools fit best in a corner outfield spot. He has the potential to at best an average fielder in center and whether or not he can stick there will be huge in determining his value.
Eaton has above average speed and he is a max effort runner on the bases paths and in the field. He is very aggressive on the base paths and I really liked to see him busting it down the first base line even on a routine ground balls. We could see him steal 15 to 20 bases in a full season.
Eaton is a grinder and will go out and be one of the hardest workers on the field every game. He is a max effort guy and someone ever manager wants on his team. He is a fun guy to watch and should be a fan favorite once he reaches the majors. He has the tools to hit .300 at the next level with a solid walk rate while keeping the strikeout numbers down. What will ultimately decide Eaton’s fate is whether or not he sticks in center. He is a tweener kind of guy. He doesn’t quite have the tools to be an every day major league center fielder but the bat does not fit in the corner outfield spots. Eaton will most likely become a very good 4th outfielder, with the ability to play all three outfield spots. He could be a starter for a team out in left or right but that would depend on the team’s philosophy and if they are willing to play a contact orientated bat in left or right rather than a power bat. Eaton has nothing left to prove at AAA and is major league ready. The Diamondbacks outfield situation is pretty crowded but he should receive a call come September and on a big league roster out of spring training next year.