When the Arizona Diamondbacks take the field on Tuesday night, there will be a potentially familiar face in center field as they face off with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Prized prospect Adam Eaton was activated from the disabled list, where he had been since early in the spring with a strained left elbow, on Tuesday afternoon, and as soon as he was available, Kirk Gibson penciled him into the both the leadoff and center field positions.
Eaton debuted in the majors in 2012 with solid results, but there was significant buzz about a “breakout” campaign this year before he went down with injury. He produced a .382 on-base percentage in 103 plate appearances last year, showing an advanced plate approach, but his speed and athleticism is what brings scouts to love him. Eaton stole 44 bases across two levels of the minors in 2012 (in just 130 games), and he is a potential difference maker on the base paths.
After stealing an additional 8 bases during his minor league rehab, Eaton showed that he was physically ready, and the division-leading Diamondbacks appear to be awaiting a shot in the arm. It remains to be seen whether he’ll hit enough to be a “star”, but he has all of the tools, and the smart money would be on him being in the majors to stay.