Adam Eaton: White Sox lead-off hitter projected for solid season

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Spring training games begin on Wednesday, March 4, and one player who must keep up near or ahead of the pace he had last season is the player who gets everything started for the Chicago White Sox … Adam Eaton.

Eaton’s production for the ’15 season will be the catalyst for the White Sox pretty much each and every game, since he’s the lead-off hitter for the club.

His season one year ago saw him produce a .300 batting average with a .362 on-base percentage and .401 slugging percentage.

Not bad for a 5-8, 185-pound baseball player who gives all he has each and every game he’s on the field.

As for his projections for the 2015 season, let’s take a look at what Baseball Prospectus has to say about the 26-year old Eaton, who is beginning his second season with the White Sox.

In their annual guide, BP projects Eaton to have a .283 batting average with a .351 on-base percentage and .386 slugging percentage. To be honest, though, I believe Eaton will out-play those projections. With what the White Sox have behind him in the batting order this season, those projections would be serviceable numbers nonetheless.

Other projections for the centerfielder include 57 runs, 22 doubles, five triples and 37 RBIs.

Also with BP, Eaton and being injury-prone comes into the discussion, with the publication saying:

"“At what point do we label a player injury prone? Eaton shouldn’t have that reputation yet, but he might be getting dangerously close.”"

That thought has had to also enter the mind of White Sox fans as well. Though Eaton was a spark plug for the team last season, he played in just 123 of 162 games, missing some time with two trips to the disabled list.

Sep 3, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton (1) hits a RBI single in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It is tough to ask Eaton to slow down his style of play, but maybe he can play just a little safer so he can stay on the field more for the ’15 season, which is better for the success of the White Sox.

Speaking of the ’15 season, he and Melky Cabrera will be playing in the outfield for the first time together, with Cabrera signing with the White Sox as a free agent this offseason.

In an article by White Sox writer Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, it quotes Eaton of becoming teammates with Cabrera:

"“I told him what I like to do in certain situations. He told me what he likes to do. He seems like a pretty easygoing guy.”"

That’s what is so great about Eaton … he’s so chill about everything, and that’s the type of player the White Sox need as their leadoff hitter. He doesn’t let pressure get to him, but you know he’ll give you everything he has each and every game.

The White Sox are lucky to have a player like Eaton, and his progression as a major leaguer will continue to be even greater in ’15.

Next: Who is the best catcher in the AL Central?

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