- Sept 16, 2020: When Joey Wendle cracked a line drive into right field at Tropicana Field, Adam Eaton was all over it. He outstretched his glove and hurled himself for a diving catch in the second inning of the Nats’ 4-2 win in 10 innings over the Rays.
The ball landed in his glove, but it bounced out after it hit his face. No catch.
“His beard knocked it out,” Rays broadcaster Brian Anderson said on replay. “It was in that glove, and the Adam Eaton beard poked it loose, caused the fumble.”
Eaton’s defensive approach was on point, though. He needed to cover 67 feet in 4.1 seconds, and he got a jump that was 4.1 feet above average on it. Wendle’s shot had a 45 percent catch probability, which would have given the veteran outfielder a four-star catch had he connected.
The Nationals revealed after the win that Eaton was playing banged up during that defensive play. In his at-bat in the top of the same inning, Eaton sustained a bruised finger on a bunt attempt, manager Dave Martinez said.
Eaton did not take another at-bat but remained in the game until Josh Harrison replaced him in right field in the bottom of the fourth. Eaton will be re-evaluated on Thursday, the Nationals’ off-day. (J Camerato - MLB.com - Sept 16, 2020)
|Home:||N/A||Team:||NATIONALS - IL|
|Birth City:||Springfield, OH|
|Draft:||Diamondbacks #19 - 2010 - Out of Miami Univ. (OH)|
Pitching was Adam's first love. He went to Miami of Ohio for that reason, but injuries forced him to be a position player.
- In 2010, the Diamondbacks drafted Eaton (see Transactions below).
In 2010, Adam led the Pioneer League in hitting (.385) and on-base percentage (.500).
In 2011, Baseball America rated Eaton as the 30th-best prospect in the Diamondbacks' organization. He moved all the way up to #12 in the winter before 2012 spring training. And he took another big jump—up to third-best prospect in the D'Backs farm system in the offseason before 2013 spring camps opened.
At 5-foot-8, Adam Eaton is often the shortest player on the field. Just as often, Eaton is the most efficient leadoff hitter, the best defensive outfielder, and the most likely to take the extra base.
Adam receives his inspiration in the words of his late uncle Dave, who died from cancer a few years ago. "Like he always said, 'dynamite comes in small packages,'" Eaton said. "You can't get bigger than yourself. Being a smaller guy, your job is to get on base. My approach is to scrap a hit, scrap a walk, scrap a hit by pitch. Anything I can do, it doesn't matter. Just get on and try to put pressure on a defense."
Eaton plays with a dirt-bag mentality. He is an extremely aggressive player who is wired to win. "He's going to get us into a few fights,” one D-backs coach says. “I don’t look to start fights,” Eaton says, “but they do tend to follow me.” On his cell phone, Eaton keeps a list of people who doubted he’d make the Major Leagues. “I love that chip on his shoulder he carries around,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson says.
The Diamondbacks called up Adam to The Show on September 4, 2012. When he found out he could not get a flight to San Francisco in time, he and his fiancee, Katie, got in the car and drove. Traffic delayed their journey, but Eaton made it to AT&T Park on time for batting practice.
"It was time to think about it, and Katie and I had some good talks about this journey," Eaton said. "It's been a journey, that's for sure. Most people only think from college, but for me and my family, we really think back almost to when I could start walking. This kind of brings it all together. Just memories, growing up when you're the smallest kid and you don't know if you can do this and this and this, and to make it to the big leagues, it kind of all comes together."
Eaton is a grinder, someone who has a no-nonsense attitude and will occasionally rub the opposing team the wrong way because of it.
He is an exciting player. He exudes a positive energy, and he is in constant motion. James Taylor could have been talking about Eaton with the “a churning urn of burning funk” line he used in a long-ago song. Eaton’s Twitter handle includes the word “spanky.”
“He’s got that mentality to be a big leaguer and a really good one for a long time,” said teammate Cody Ross during 2013 spring training.
"He has that edge, that chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove it, to show people that he is capable,” Ross continued.
In 2012, Adam led the minor leagues in hits and runs. He won the Pacific Coast League MVP and rookie of the year awards after leading the league in hitting (.381), on-base percentage (.456), runs (119), hits (186), doubles (46), steals (38), and total bases (263). That season, the Diamondbacks named Eaton their Minor League Player of the Year.
Tucked away in the notes section of an old iPhone is the fuel that Adam Eaton uses to drive that extra mile. When you're a 5-foot-8, 19th-round draft pick like the D-backs outfielder is, you're going to have plenty of people doubt your abilities.
So since graduating from high school, Eaton has kept that file in his phone filled with positive, motivating quotes, facets of his game he wants to work on, and, oh yes, there is also a list of the slights he has endured.
"Just little things I'll pick up here and there," Eaton said. "Things that I may have seen along the way that may have rubbed me the wrong way that I want to remember. Some college recruiter said, 'If you have two guys with the same attributes, a smaller guy and a taller guy, you always go with the taller guy.' Stuff like that will get me through a workout or help me get to the cage to take a couple of extra swings."
- After Eaton homered in a March exhibition game, he nearly passed pitcher Trevor Cahill, who was on base at the time. It doesn't even seem right to call it a home run "trot" for Eaton—it's more like a sprint.
"The game takes long enough as it is and no one wants to watch me just trot around the bases," Eaton said. "They don't want to see that. Just hit your home run, get around the bases and let the next guy hit. It's nice to enjoy it, but just act like you've done it before."
Eaton has sprinted around the bases throughout his pro career and has heard from teammates as well as his wife, Katie, that he should slow down and enjoy the moment.
"I'm sure if I hit it in the World Series, I may slow down," he said with a laugh.
Adam has been full of energy from the time he was a young player coached by his father through his years in college, when he was a second-team all-Midwest region player his final two years. He has been made five all-star teams in his three minor league seasons. And he was named the PCL’s Most Exciting Player and Best Baserunner in the annual Best Tools survey of league managers.
“Well, I’m 5-8,” Eaton said of his height. “I have to have an edge. You want to have that little chip, that small-man syndrome, that Napoleon syndrome. You have to have that to play at this size at this level.”
D-Backs Triple-A Reno manager Brett Butler rates Eaton as the second-best player he has had in his time in the organization, behind only outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. And he raves about Eaton’s capacity to listen, learn, and implement while playing at such a high level.
"I would like to think I’m kind of a Lenny Dykstra/Kenny Lofton mix,” Eaton said. “Kind of a guy that’s going to be a scrappy dirtbag guy and get after it day in and day out. But hopefully I’ll bring a little finesse, bring a little speed and quickness and score some runs. If I can hang my hat on a .300 (batting average), score 100 runs with an on-base percentage around .400, I think I’d have a heck of a year. I think it’s definitely doable.”
Eaton has been confused with former Padre pitcher Adam Eaton. On one instance, he received six checks from MLB worth $20,000 each, and has received fan mail meant for the other Adam Eaton.
Eaton is married to former Miami University of Ohio softball pitcher Katie Osburn Eaton.
In 2014 spring training, Adam was with his new team, the White Sox, when a former, unnamed teammate with the Diamondbacks, state that his excitement for his job was annoying.
While it is true that Eaton is a happy guy and an enthusiastic talker who expresses passion for baseball. Adam
made friends quickly on the Sox. Accepting an invitation from Paul Konerko to hit at his home during the offseason was a good start.
“You spend time with him, you spend time with the whole organization,’’ Eaton said.
New teammates have asked him about the Diamondbacks thing, wondering what that was all about.
“I wasn’t really sure, to be honest," Eaton said. “I thought I had a good rapport with all those guys. Usually, there’s one teammate who rubs you the wrong way, but that guy happened to speak up.
“I’m getting along great with all these guys, and I thought the same thing with the Diamondbacks, I really did. I didn’t think I rubbed people the wrong way. I am energetic, and I love to play the game, and I don’t think I need to change that. Bring that kid mentality to the game. It’s fun. I hate that I offended somebody in the clubhouse. If I knew who it was, I would definitely apologize and talk to him to try to be a better teammate.’’
On Adam's first date with his wife Katie, he took her to the batting cage after dinner to see if he could hit her pitching. Katie was a softball pitcher for Miami University in Ohio. When asked, he said her pitching was nothing to mess with. He said she had a drop curveball that was not for him.
Adam is the fourth player from his high schoos, Snohomish High School in Washington state, to reach the Major Leagues. The others were Dave Burba, Rick White, and Dustin Hermanson.
Adam's college snack: Ramen-flavored sunflower seeds. Think about it—everyone loves those cheap, delicious, life-sustaining bricks of ramen noodles. And everyone loves sunflower seeds. As Eaton explains it:
"It'd be easy—chicken-flavored ramen noodles and make it into a sunflower seed. When I was in college, that's what I lived off of … just put in some seeds and get the little chicken pack, and just put the pack in your mouth with the seeds, and all of a sudden you have ramen-noodle flavored seeds. Instant."
2016 Spring Training: Eaton led off as the White Sox designated hitter, but he wasn't the only Eaton getting in some game action. Katie Eaton, Adam's wife, was in a broadcast booth doing analysis for a broadcast on whitesox.com. And when the leadoff hitter came up a second time, she gave her assessment.
"He's all right, I guess," Katie said, adding she'd probably like him better once he loses the beard. (John Schlegel - MLB.com - March 2016)
Adam says he has one really bad habit: chewing his nails. "There's no question it's chewing my nails. I can't stand it—so disgusting yet hard to stop. I hide my nails from people. I have quit so many times, and then one nervous moment and I am biting them again." (March 2016)
2016 Spring Training: Like they do every day, autograph seekers lined up along the chain-link fence between the White Sox clubhouse and their practice fields. And like he does most every day, Adam Eaton stopped during spring training to sign his name on some baseballs. Eager fans yelled his name, trying to catch his eye. But off in the corner, a 6-year-old boy named Trevor King grabbed Eaton's attention.
"Mr. Eaton," he said, in that type of cute kid voices that melts your heart.
So Eaton jogged over. When he looked at Trevor, he saw a young boy who was born blind because his eyes never developed in the womb. He wore a White Sox T-shirt, a worthwhile choice for his first trip to MLB spring training.
"How are you?" Eaton said, as he reached down to shake Trevor's hand. Matt King, Trevor's dad, turned his son a bit and helped the youngster's hand connect with Eaton's. At that moment, a bond was formed—even if for only a few minutes that existed outside of Eaton's daily baseball routine.
Eaton signed a baseball, then agreed to take a photo, but he didn’t stop there. He reached over the fence, grabbed Trevor and lifted him onto the player's walkway. If they were going to take a picture together, they were going to take a good one. Once Trevor was back with his family, Eaton dug into his equipment back and pulled out a bat. That belonged to Trevor now.
“You can have that too,” Eaton said, handing him a pair of batting gloves.
It was a tender moment and one that’s not uncommon for Eaton, who is one of baseball’s most inviting players — whether it’s engaging fans on social media, playing video games online fans or visiting sick kids in the hospital.
Why? Because he knows what it’s like to be a kid and look up to ballplayers.
“You always have to give back to those kids because at one point or another, you were that kid,” Eaton said. “I try to make it special for them, something they’ll remember, because I know I wanted that to happen when I was a kid.” (Mike Oz - Yahoo Sports - March 2016)
April 9, 2016: Eaton's terrific start to the season was put on a short hiatus, as he joined his wife, Katie, for the birth of their first child. Their son, Brayden, arrived at 7 pounds, 1 ounce. On April 11, Adam rejoined the White Sox.
Adam's first interview as a new father was delayed a bit because he was face-timing with his wife, Katie, and his newborn son, Brayden. Once Eaton started talking, though, he couldn't contain the excitement concerning the blessed event.
"It's a feeling like I've never had before. Something special, for sure," Eaton said with a broad smile affixed to his face. "I don't want to be cliché, but it definitely puts life in perspective. I revolve around this game. Everything revolved around baseball. When your wife goes into labor two nights ago, early morning, and is there all day, she works her butt off to have this child, how tough she is, and then the gift that you got out of it is truly special."
The Eatons were prepared for the birth of their child in 16 days, but the only problem was their preparation resided at their home in Brighton, Michigan. Katie was supposed to be in Chicago for the home opener at U.S. Cellular Field on April 8th and then drive home April 9th for a baby shower. Instead, Katie had to Skype into the shower from Rush University Medical Center. She went into labor the morning of the 9th and delivered that night.
"My mom and dad were there, her mom and dad were there. Her brother, her sister. All our family, except for my brother, who is stationed in Nebraska. He couldn't make it, of course. And with the rainout, my only missing one game was awesome. We are thrilled. But yeah, a little hazy." (Merkin - MLB.com - 4/11/16)
The Twitter account of Robin Eaton has not been active since around Valentine's Day 2015, but there's one post from a few years ago that seems especially fitting at this time of year. It's a picture of a very young Adam Eaton, eating spaghetti in his high chair, with the greeting "Happy 25th bday to my baby."
Robin Eaton's "baby" now serves as the leadoff hitter and right fielder for the White Sox. Eaton is happily married to Katie and is the father to Brayden, who was born on April 9, 2016, living a great life steeped in parental guidance from his youth.
"I wouldn't be here without them, especially my mother, with her trying to mold me into a person of good stature," Eaton said. "When she lays her head on her pillow at night, she knows she gave us everything she could. She did a heck of a job."
Eaton is the lone member of his family who didn't follow a military path. His father, Glenn, served in the Air Force and his brother, Zack, is currently serving. His mother served three years in the Army, and Eaton claims she is the best shot in the family. A great moment for the Eatons came last July 4 at U.S. Cellular Field, when Zack surprised Adam in center as one of the military members honored pregame.
"From a mother's point of view, what a blessing," said Robin, who was at the game with her husband and was totally surprised. "I just thought, 'This is an unreal moment.'" The youngest Eaton was a bit of a handful as a kid. But Robin Eaton said Adam had a great heart, and it was more along the lines that if there was something to get into, he would get into it.
As an example, Robin described a moment standing in the kitchen at the family's home in Springfield, Ohio, when she suddenly felt the windows shake. She ran out through the patio to find a young Adam having set off a rodent bomb that his father had hidden in the garage. His friends had talked about trying to find some fireworks, Adam thought he knew of some and barely escaped without serious injury.
"He's always been a people pleaser," Robin said. "And the boys in the neighborhood latched on to that pretty quickly, so whenever there was something dared to be done, it was, 'Adam, you go do it,' and he would, unfortunately. He was not afraid to do anything."
"I'm sure there were nights where she cried because I was such an idiot, and put so much turmoil on the family," Adam said. "But just unconditional love and being strong for the family is what I think of my mom as." That support included Eaton's early soccer days and even middle-school interest in the trombone.
"My heart is full," Robin said. "All moms are proud of their kids. I am most proud of him because of the family man that he has become. Certainly the career, that goes without saying, but he puts family first." (Merkin - MLB.com - 5/4/16)
When he was asked how often Adam sees his children, "Not enough," Eaton sighed.
When the Nationals acquired Eaton from the White Sox in 2016, Eaton's family moved to Washington, DC. Between a 162-game season and Spring Training, though, Eaton said he sees Brayden, his 2-year-old son, and Maverick, who was born in May, about 13 days every month.
Eaton missed some of Brayden's first words and Maverick's rolling over for the first time. The 29-year-old wanted to remind himself of his kids, especially while traveling. So, during 2018 Spring Training in West Palm Beach, Fla., Eaton got a tattoo on his right arm of a tree, which symbolizes a family tree.
Eaton is just one of a group of Nationals players who honor their families with tattoos, partly because of how often they're away from their loved ones. "As a human you may have core values, but we always forget without writing it down or seeing it everyday," Eaton said. "To have a constant reminder everyday that family's important is the main reason why I got it."
Soon, Eaton said he'll have his children's footprints tattooed to the trunk of the tree on his arm. "We get paid really well," Eaton said. "It's a great gig and everything like that, but we do make a sacrifice for our families."
On August 22, 2018, Eaton's children visited Washington's clubhouse after a Nats game. When Eaton's kids left with their mother, Brayden yelled for Eaton to join them. But Eaton had to shower, eat, and prep for the nexy day's afternoon game before he could return home, where his children would be asleep. Moments like those are when Eaton is grateful he can glance toward his tattoo anytime for comfort. (Melnick - mlb.com - 8/23/18)
Adam was asked what he would've been if not a ballplayer. "I would have been an occupational therapist," Eaton said. "I was a kinesiology major. I love the study of the human body. The amazing human anatomy can adjust to so many positive and negative elements. I loved the idea of helping people with life-changing injuries or illnesses. The human spirit can lift you beyond what science says is possible.," Adam said.
Asked how influenced him most in the game, Eaton said, "My father, and my uncle Dale. I still wear his number on my glove. Uncle Dale was a high school baseball coach in Cleveland, Ohio. He taught me to be a good human being. His teachings were to be a man on and off the field."
Adam says that he designed his game after Kenny Lofton: "He was my model. I grew up a big Tribe fan. My dad is from outside Cleveland."
Cars have become a self-admitted addiction for Eaton, and going around spotting and taking pictures of parked cars he finds cool while walking around—or building and customizing cars himself—has become one of his favorite hobbies.
Eaton's admiration for cars began as a youth when his father started drag racing. His dad would compete in the Stock Eliminator drag racing class, and Eaton still has fond memories of he and his brother helping try to cool down that 1972 Plymouth Duster.
"That's where I really fell in love with cars," he said. "The smell of the track, the smell of fuel. Guys working on cars. I'm not a gearhead by any stretch of the imagination—I really wish I was—just more of a car enthusiast."
Being in West Palm Beach has been perfect for Eaton. Eaton has been amazed by how many impressive cars he runs into seemingly on a daily basis. There was the Volkswagen with a 40-horsepower motor that he found in the parking lot at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. "It's different, so weird, but it's kind of neat. That's the kind of stuff that I like." Or the Plymouth Superbird he spotted downtown by City Place. He spent a day earlier this spring getting a tour of South Beach Classics in Miami.
And then there are Corvettes, Eaton's favorite car growing up. He remembers pictures of himself near a Corvette as a 13-year-old boy with a wide grin from ear to ear. He vowed one day to be able to buy one for himself. Once he reached the Majors for the first time in 2012, as a September call-up with the D-backs, he decided it was time for an upgrade. He traded in his Mazda with no air conditioning that had accumulated more than 150,000 miles, and bought his first Corvette, even though he was far from an established big leaguer.
"Financially, it wasn't probably the brightest idea in the world, to be honest with you," Eaton said with a laugh. "For me, that was motivation. Every time I sat in my car, I had a great time. But some days, when you left the field, [if] you didn't have a good day, you'd feel guilty driving it. Then when you had a good day, you drove home and you're like, 'You know what? I'm worth it.'"
Eaton currently owns four cars: A Toyota 4Runner for his wife, Katie, because it's built to last; a 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport that he contributed some engine and body modifications; a 2017 Cadillac CTS-V; and his everyday car, a Ford SVT Raptor built by SEMA—one of the largest car and trade shows in the world—which he drove from Michigan to Spring Training.
Although he has thought about it, Eaton is not sure he would ever follow in his father's footsteps and get into drag racing. He admits it's already an expensive hobby, and he never wants it to feel like another job. Eaton does have his eye on a few other cars—he'd buy one on the spot if the long-rumored mid-engine Corvette ever gets made. But for now, he seems content with what he has and happy to keep taking photos of any interesting cars he comes across.
"It's really an addiction," he said. (Jamal Collier/ MLB.com./March 15, 2017)
Dec 25, 2017: Eaton is walking around with a slight limp but a huge smile on his face. Gone is the scooter he needed to get around the Nationals' clubhouse for most of the summer, or the need for crutches.
It's been about eight months since Eaton underwent ACL surgery on his left knee, which cut his first season in Washington short, and he is excited to begin to feel normal again. The hours of rehab and physical therapy took their toll on Eaton as he was reduced to a spectator and cheerleader after tearing his ACL lunging for first base on April 28.
"It was brutal," Eaton said. "The worst year of my life, I think it's safe to say. The longest summer of my life." That has made Eaton even more eager to get back on the field. By the time Spring Training rolls around he expects to be able to run, cut and play without restrictions. Eaton has spent the offseason focusing on some of the other areas of his body he feels he has neglected a bit since the knee injury. "I want to be ready coming in," he said. "I'm going down pretty early, get some extra treatment and some extra focus. But everything's going really well, and I'm pretty happy where I'm at for the offseason with my knee, and really my whole body."
Eaton could represent a big acquisition for the Nationals this season even though he was their major move last year. He played in just 23 games with Washington before the injury, but the Nats received a glimpse of the spark he is capable of providing. He hit .297/.393/.462 in the limited action and was a catalyst at the top of the lineup.
"He looks great," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "He's [champing] at the bit. The biggest thing to kind of get him to realize is that, hey, we want him ready for Opening Day. He's going to get opportunities to play in Spring Training a lot, but we want him ready for Opening Day." Martinez said he envisions Eaton as the leadoff hitter, although Martinez acknowledged that he plans to test out a number of lineups during Spring Training.
The Nationals plan to move Eaton to left field in favor of leaving Michael A. Taylor in center field, where he was a NL Gold Glove Award finalist in 2017. Eaton's addition to the lineup should serve as an upgrade over last year's everyday left fielder, Jayson Werth. Eaton and Taylor alongside Bryce Harper in right field could give the Nationals one of the best outfields in baseball next season.
Eaton has less experience in left field than the other two outfield positions, having played just 42 games there. While Eaton said he would be OK with a switch, he did call left field the most difficult outfield position to cover. "It's a lot less room to cover," Eaton said. "I'm going to be looking at Michael for a lot of help, with a healthy knee or without a healthy knee. He runs like a deer, and I'm excited to run alongside him. He's a heck of a center fielder. I think we're going to have a really good outfield. An outfield that can run and can throw and we're going to constantly communicate. And hopefully be one of the best outfields out there." (J Collier - MLB.com - Dec 25, 2017)
March 22, 2018: Eaton believes he has perhaps found a positive takeaway from the ACL injury that cost him most of last season. He believes the injury could help extend his career. Not playing for a year has made Eaton's body feel fresher. He took time to correct some of the nagging injuries he developed during his career that he never had time to fix—making sure his hips, shoulder and back are all aligned correctly, increasing his shoulder strength and taking care of his elbow and forearm.
With the Nationals training staff, Eaton developed a new stretch and treatment routine to get loose before games. He used to stretch for about 30 minutes to get ready for a game, but now he takes about an hour and a half to make sure he is properly stretched and to get treatment. Even when he is 100 percent, Eaton plans to continue that regimen. Adam believes he will slow the game down and play smarter now, something he was starting to do anyway with age, but this injury will increase it.
"Sometimes you can get away with a lot with your body, especially being young," said Eaton, who turned 29 in December. "I think this is going to give me longevity. Taking a step back, hopefully to be able to take a step forward. Taking a year off with my body and being able to put my body in a better position day in and day out, I think could be huge for me going forward."
Adam considers this exchange from a March 2018 Grapefruit League game against the Marlins. He was on second base when a pickoff throw got past the bag. In the past, Eaton says he would have likely dove back to second on the throw before sprinting toward third and likely sliding into the base. Instead, he knew he could be a bit more methodical getting back to second base before making it to third easily.
"Just little things like that, that adds up," Eaton said. "If you save a sprint or two a game, that's a lot of sprints, going up to 162. I think I was headed that way anyways, but this is just going to accelerate that. I have to play smart, got to play methodical and be efficient as I can.
"Being efficient and methodical, I think you could be a really good baseball player. And knowing when to turn it on. If you gotta go, you gotta go. I think that if I would have played the game a little slower," he said, "I probably wouldn't even be in this situation today." (J Collier - MLB.com - March 22, 2018)
May 20, 2019: Adam called Mets third baseman Todd Frazier “very childish” after the two players had to be separated from one another following an on-field incident during the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Nationals at Citi Field.
Eaton said he heard Frazier yelling at him across the infield all night long, but it was after Eaton grounded into a double-play to end the top of the third inning that he confronted Frazier near the first-base bag and Mets dugout. The two had to be restrained between innings, continuing what has been a years-long feud between the two former White Sox teammates. Both players remained in the game.
“I’m walking with my head down, play’s over, I’m walking away, I can still hear him,” Eaton said. “I’m a 30-year-old man with two kids, got a mortgage and everything. He wants to loud talk as he’s running off the field. At the end of the day, I got to be a man about it. I tried to stay patient with the childishness, but it is what it is. I got to stand up eventually.”
Frazier did not elaborate on the incident after the game, saying, “It was nothing” when asked by reporters. When pressed about how the issue started, Frazier once again responded, “It was nothing.” Eaton, on the other hand, did not hold back.
“It’s funny,” Eaton said. “He didn’t really want to walk towards me, but as soon as someone held him back, then he was all of a sudden he was really impatient, like trying to get towards me. Just being Todd Frazier. What’s new?”
The bad blood between these two players dates back to 2016, when both Frazier and Eaton were teammates with the White Sox for one season and far from best friends. At one point during the season, they had lockers next to each other in Chicago’s clubhouse, but they were separated later in the season. Whatever issues began then boiled over last season during a game on August 26 at Citi Field. A few Mets had taken issue with Eaton because of a hard slide into second base earlier in the month that wound up injuring Mets infielder Phillip Evans. Once again, Frazier started shouting at Eaton on the field during that game and the two exchanged words.
"I think there's a little bit of a history there,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “And Fraz is an emotional competitor."
Eaton said he was surprised Frazier’s issues with him were ongoing, and he still did not understand why the issue developed between the two players. The Mets and Nationals have nine more meetings with one another, including another showdown at Citi Field, meaning Eaton and Frazier are going to have to share the field with each other several more times.
“He’s one of those guys who always says it loud enough that you hear it but can’t understand it,” Eaton said. “So, he’s making a habit of it. I ignored him a couple times chirping coming across, but I had it to the point ... you got to be a man at some point. So, I turned around, had a few choice words with him.” (J Collier - MLB.com - May 21, 2019)
June 2010: Eaton was the Diamondbacks' 19th round pick, out of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He signed with scout Frankie Thon Jr. for a bonus of $35,000.
December 10, 2013: In a three-team traded, the Diamondbacks received OF Mark Trumbo from the Angels, along with two players to be named, one from the White Sox (Brandon Jacobs), one from the Angels (A.J. Schugel). The D-Backs sent Eaton to the White Sox and LHP Tyler Skaggs to the Angels, who also received Hector Santiago.
March 20, 2015: Eaton signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract extension.
Dec 7, 2016: The White Sox traded Eaton to the Nationals for RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, and RHP Dane Dunning.
Eaton has a short lefthanded swing and an all-fields approach. He consistently makes hard contact, putting the bat on the ball and hitting line drives. Plus, he has excellent bat control.
Most of Adam's power is to the gaps, and he hits a few dingers. But really, his game revolves around his plus-plus speed, and he's able to use it consistently because he puts the ball in play frequently. He won't hit many home runs, but he gets on base and has some gap power.
Eaton is a gamer with tools. he plays like his hair's on fire. And he can be a real catalyst at the top of the lineup, or batting second in the order.
Adam has a rather unorthodox style, with one scout comparing it to a Japanese approach in which he gets an early jump out of the batter's box.
"He has a high leg kick at times and I think that contributes to it a little. But, he’s done a much better job at calming things down and when he’s going well, he’s a line-drive hitter from the left-field line to right-center field.”
He draws about as many walks as he has strikeouts. He has leadoff-hitter ability. He consistently puts together good at-bats and gets on base.
“Obviously, the goal of a leadoff guy is to get on base,” Eaton said. “I’m looking for any way on, and if that means getting inside the other team’s head, or crowding the plate and taking a pitch in the back, you know, that’s good for us.”
His biggest drawback: The lefty hitting Eaton struggles to hit lefthanded pitchers, which may eventually relegate him to a platoon role. But he is working at improving.
"Just taking a little more inventory against lefties and hunkering down has been very beneficial,” Eaton said. “Before, I would get out on my front foot a lot. Coming out of that arm slot, I don’t have as much time to react against lefties since I can’t see it coming out as well as I can against righties. So, just getting myself in a position where I’m comfortable and know what the book is on the pitcher has been huge.”
- Eaton has a unique blend of attributes. He has the approach, bat-to-ball skills and instincts to become a sparkplug in every facet of the game.
- Adam gets hit by a lot of pitches.
In 2012, Triple-A Reno manager Brett Butler worked with him on bunting, and not just toward second base but down the line at third, too. The two talked situations, when to take pitches, and when to be ready to make a quick strike.
In 2014, Eaton tied for the third-most hits to the opposite field in MLB, with 67. Dee Gordon led with 75.
In 2014, Adam lead the AL with 10 triples.
As of the start of the 2020 season, Eaton's career Major League stats were: .285 batting average, with 863 hits, 56 home runs with 272 RBI in 3,026 at-bats.
- Adam exhibits impressive instincts in the field. And his speed makes him a good center fielder with a lot of range. He has above average range at all three outfield positions, with plenty of arm for right field.
- Eaton's throws are accurate from that strong arm.
- The headline read: "Eaton's beard - not a typo - prevents catch"
When Joey Wendle cracked a line drive into right field at Tropicana Field, Adam was all over it. He outstretched his glove and hurled himself for a diving catch in the second inning of the Nats’ 4-2 win in 10 innings over the Rays.
The ball landed in his glove, but it bounced out after it hit his face. No catch. “His beard knocked it out,” Rays broadcaster Brian Anderson said on replay. “It was in that glove, and the Adam Eaton beard poked it loose, caused the fumble.”
Eaton’s defensive approach was on point, though. He needed to cover 67 feet in 4.1 seconds, and he got a jump that was 4.1 feet above average on it. Wendle’s shot had a 45 percent catch probability, which would have given the veteran outfielder a four-star catch had he connected. (Camerato - mlb.com - 9/17/2020)
Adam has very good speed and impressive instincts on the bases. He uses that plus speed to create havoc against the opposition.
He has been clocked from home to first base on bunts and ground balls at 3.46 and 3.76 seconds, respectively–indicating that he’s at least a plus-plus runner.
- His speed is his best tool.
- Eaton gets to top speed quickly.
April 30-May 7, 2011: Eaton was on the D.L.
August 24-September 1, 2012: Adam was on the D.L.
September 29, 2012: Eaton was diagnosed with a fractured right hand after being hit with a pitch in the D'Back's 8-2 victory over the Cubs. So his season ended four days early.
March 22, 2013: The much anticipated rookie season of D-backs center fielder Adam Eaton was put on hold for 6-8 weeks after an MRI revealed a left elbow UCL sprain. So he began the season on the D.L.
May 20-July 9, 2013: Eaton was within days of his scheduled return to the Diamondbacks when he felt discomfort in the elbow during a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Reno. He returned for an examination the next day, saying the discomfort was in a different area of his elbow.
"It just feels like someone punched me in the stomach," he said. "It's tough to have a setback like this, but I have to try and learn what I can during this and go forward. Try to take as much good out of a bad situation."
May 3-18, 2014: Eaton was on the D.L. with a strained right hamstring.
August 9-26, 2014: Adam was on the D.L. with a strained right oblique.
October 5, 2015: Eaton had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. It had been a problem he had played with since late July.
April 29-Nov 3, 2017: Adam was on the DL with strained left knee. It was determined that Eaton had a torn left ACL and would not play the rest of the season.
April 9, 2018: Adam was placed on the 10-day DL with a bone bruise to his left ankle.
May 10-June 9, 2018: Adam visited noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson when he underwent arthroscopic surgery in which a small piece of cartilage was removed from his left ankle. And with one snip of a chondral flap, the Nationals believe the issue that has kept Eaton sidelined for a month has finally been resolved.
Sept 2, 2019: Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI after manager Dave Martinez admitted the team has some concern about Eaton’s right knee, which tightened up on him and forced him to exit in the third inning of the 7-3 loss to the Mets.
"I'm a little concerned,” Martinez said. “He got loose, all good, didn't bother him at all. All of a sudden, it just kept getting tighter and tighter as a couple of innings went by.”
- Sept 16, 2020: The Nationals revealed after the win that Eaton was playing banged up during that defensive play. In his at-bat in the top of the same inning, Eaton sustained a bruised finger on a bunt attempt, manager Dave Martinez said. He will be day-to-day.
Sept 17, 2020: Adam was on the IL.