Are the 2015 White Sox Better Than the 2005 Squad?

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Sep 10, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton (1) slides back to first base against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

2015: Adam Eaton (ESPN Projections: .271 Avg./4 HR/37 RBI/20 SB)

2005: Aaron Rowand (2005 Stats: .270 Avg./13 HR/69 RBI/16 SB)

This is the hardest comparison of any duo on this list. Adam Eaton is essentially the second coming of Aaron Rowand, and the first chance at stability in centerfield since Rowand patrolled the position himself in ’05.

The comparisons started shortly after Eaton was acquired when ESPN’s Doug Padilla wrote about Eaton wanting to channel his inner Rowand.

"“The center fielder comparison makes the most sense, though, and Rowand’s hard-nosed play always struck a chord with Eaton, even before he became a member of the team that won its last World Series with Rowand in center.”"

Eaton showed a similar style of play in ’14 and both he and Rowand have become poster children for running into walls. In fact, Rowand even admires they way Eaton plays the game.

"It was easy for former Chicago White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand to find his new favorite player. It was the guy running around in his old stomping ground. ‘I had the ability to sit and watch him play all year long and go out and do the things he said he wanted to do,” Rowand said. “He plays the game right. He has the right approach. He studies guys. He’s a workhorse in the film room, the batting cage and he does things the way that they should be done to have success, and he’s going to have a lot of it.’"

Rowand certainly had more power in ’05 than Eaton is expected to have this year. However, Eaton’s power shows up more in the form of gap-doubles and triples down the line rather than the long ball. I actually think ESPN’s projections err on the lower side for Eaton, and think he is capable of an average much closer to .300.

Adam Eaton is the second coming of Aaron Rowand

Eaton also exceeds Rowand in the steals department, and his projected 20 stolen bases by ESPN is half what Eaton’s goal is for this season.

Because they’re strikingly similar players, choosing who should start in ’15 is quite difficult. Ultimately, I think Eaton is the better choice in center simply because I think there is still so much upside with him.

Overall, I think you can expect Eaton to post relatively better numbers than Rowand did in ’05 as he builds on last season and chases a gold-glove along with his first all-star appearance.

Edge: Adam Eaton 

Next: White Sox: Right Field

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