Last year Adam Eaton was probably my least favorite White Sox player. Despite having solid numbers that you would think revealed a good season, the Sox leadoff hitter was not so great. Constantly getting caught in stupid baserunning decisions and playing a very average center field did not show up in the numbers. He also got off to a horrid start and salvaged his top line numbers when the Sox were all but done.
But Scrappy has been doing great things this season so far. Most importantly, he’s the best defensive right fielder in the game and it’s not even close. According to Fangraphs he’s leading the MLB with 12 defensive runs saved. DRS is a not-so-super-complicated-saber-thingy that just gives you an idea of how many runs that players has saved throughout the course of the season. The next highest is Nick Ahmed with 7…who is a shortstop. It’s unreasonable to think he can keep up this pace, but his defense is already good for a 1.3 dWAR, meaning his defense is already worth one win…pretty good considering he was a -1.1 last year.
You go to the offensive side of his game and see room for improvement, which is great considering I haven’t completed hated his approach at the plate thus far. A .731 OPS is a factor of a low .374 slugging percentage, which should start to rise as he hits more doubles and dingers (had 14 last year). His strikeout rate is also down, coming in just over 13% compared to almost 20% last year.
I like this Adam Eaton. I can get behind this Adam Eaton. He seems to understand his role a bit better and he’s one of few guys I actually believe when he says all he cares about is winning. His challenge has always been figuring out how to contribute to winning. It’s not always about taking the extra base, because you’re going to get thrown out a lot if you do it every time. Even ignoring the statistics, it looks like Eaton is playing within himself much more this year which has raised his level of play. I like it, Adam. Keep doing what you’re doing and maybe I’ll forget that you called Drake LaRoche a leader.