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2013 Fantasy Baseball: Rookie Adam Eaton Will Have Big Impact

Adam Eaton - Arizona Diamondbacks

Matt Kartozian – USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a season in which rookies Mike Trout and Bryce Harper took the league by storm and became immediate fantasy baseball assets, owners are looking at which rookies could make a big impact this season. One candidate is the projected starting center fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Adam Eaton.

The 25-year-old had a cup of coffee with the Diamondbacks last September and while he didn’t turn many heads, there were some impressive signs that show he should be a mainstay in the league for years to come.

Eaton is known for his speed, having swiped 106 bags in the minor leagues over the past three years. When he came up last year, he stole just two bags and was caught three times, but he is going to run no matter what and the steals will come.

Something else Eaton displayed throughout the minor leagues, which he was also surprisingly able to bring up to the majors, is impressive plate discipline. He consistently had a walk rate around 10 percent or higher in the minors, and in his short stint in the majors last year, he managed a walk rate of 13.6 percent with a .382 on-base percentage.

Digging deeper, he swung at just 30.3 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone in his short time with the club last season. This is right around average and extremely impressive for a guy getting his first taste of big league pitching, even in just a small sample size. The team was confident enough to bat him leadoff because of this plate discipline, and he’ll likely do the same this season, putting him in prime position to score runs.

Aside from the runs, steals and impressive on-base percentage he should bring, don’t forget he also hit .381 in AAA last season. He isn’t going to show much power and is bound to go through growing pains, but as long as he continues to show a keen eye at the plate, he’ll be a three-category contributor with tons of upside as a late-round pick in standard leagues.

Rich Arleo is a fantasy sports expert with Rant Sports. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and ‘Like’ him on Facebook.