Are Adam Eaton’s struggles at the plate the reason why the Chicago White Sox offense is sputtering?
The White Sox are two games under the .500 mark and were just swept by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this past weekend.
In those games, Eaton was a combined 4-for-13 with one run and one walk. He struck out four times against the Angels. In his past 10 games, Eaton is batting just .171 with seven hits and two RBIs.
Lets’s take a look at five different aspects of Eaton offensively.
• Batting average
Since his return from the disabled list, Eaton has hit .224, which is far from what you would want out of an elite leadoff hitter.
Before Eaton went on the disabled list, he was hitting .266, which is at least respectable. A 42-point difference is huge, especially if that player is your lead-off hitter.
• K-to-BB rate
After Eaton has returned from the DL, he has struck out 20 times. However, when it comes to reaching base via walk, Eaton has only done so twice.
When a leadoff hitter is not making enough contact and also is failing to reach base by drawing walks, it makes it tougher to score runs.
While the leadoff hitter’s main job is not to drive in runs, the majority of Eaton’s RBIs this season came before he went on the DL.
Eaton had 14 RBIs before he went on the DL but has just three since his return.
Even though run production is for the middle of the order, it is still nice to have a guy at the top of the order who can drive in runs.
• Runs Scored
The main job of a leadoff hitter (along with getting on base) is another area that Eaton is struggling in … scoring runs.
This would be another category that Eaton where was more productive before the DL stint.
Eaton scored 19 runs before he went on the DL and only nine since his return.
Some of that has to do with the middle of the order slumping; however, he hasn’t been getting on base as often, either.
• On-Base Percentage
Eaton’s on-base percentage has dropped from .363 to .310 following the DL stint, as some of that has to do with a lack of base hits, but part of it has to do with a lack of drawing walks as well.
Overall, Eaton will be a very good leadoff hitter throughout his career. Some of his struggles are due to inexperience and youth, and some are due to slumping.
While Eaton is not the only issue the White Sox offense has (such as the previously mentioned middle of the order slumping), a lead-off hitter that is on base is crucial to any offense.
Though he is struggling right now, in the long run, the White Sox have an excellent top-of-the-order hitter in Eaton for several years to come.