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Adam Eaton is coming back WAY sooner than expected

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Stash him now as he could be back in just over a week.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes you get really lucky and catch articles at the right time or get the phone update just before the rest of your league. I felt like this was one of those times.

Poll

Is Eaton still available in your league?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes
    (49 votes)
  • 64%
    No
    (90 votes)
139 votes total Vote Now

A brief recap

58% owned Adam Eaton who batted .284 with 91 runs and 14 stolen bases across 157 games in 2016 was looking like one of the more promising leadoff hitters going into 2016. In the offseason he was traded to Washington, which raised his value even more. A month into the 2017 season he tore his ACL and was out for the season. The 19th overall draft pick in the 2010 draft (Arizona Diamondbacks) came in highly touted this season before hurting his ankle (requiring surgery) on April 8th just eight games into the season. The initial outlook was a trip to the 10-day DL but later it moved to 60-day DL when the surgery announcement was made. It was speculated by some he would miss his entire 2018 season. All aboard! Next station – ‘dropsville’. Two weeks go by and rumors were that he could actually return late this summer which, for his pedigree made him own able in the deepest of leagues. Another week went by and rumors moved it up to an early July timeline. One more week moved it up to late June. Then mid-June. Enter today, where reports are now out that he will return when FIRST ELIGIBLE on June 8th. You better believe I went to my free agent pool the minute I read that headline and scooped him up.

Fantasy overview

He will NOT be getting you RBIs. Well, wait, actually he may. This is what makes his return very interesting, his time with the Chicago White Sox averaged out to around an RBI every third game or so which is very average. Meanwhile he averaged a run during 70% of games with a batting average above .280, an OBP north of .360 and a slugging percentage of .425 all the while stealing 15+ bases, this was his bread and butter. When he was traded in 2017, his time with the Nationals brought his RBI average up to one every other game (essentially increasing his full year total by around 30) while his batting average and run total remained above average. My original assumption was that an improved lineup was the culprit of him driving in more batters but it’s not that simple. His slugging percentage was up to .462 last year and then up to .655 over the first eight games this year. He’s hitting doubles more often despite his triples and home runs staying on a normal pace. His fly ball rate has gone up almost 30% and he is making more hard contact now, so clearly he is putting more power behind his hits to complement his speed on the bases. I go to this point because I’m not sure how often he will steal when he gets back. His stolen base total has steadily gone down since he stole 18 in 2015 and I’m not sure if we will even see 10 over the remainder of the year (especially given recovery from an ankle injury) but if he has supplemented that with increased power I’m not sure that I care.

If you only read one sentence in this article…

We could be looking at a more well-rounded version of Adam Eaton where he provides above average RBIs, runs, batting average, OBP, and slugging.

The Nationals could be trending in a good direction soon.