Eaton takes pride in his defensive work in OF

White Sox right fielder says goal is to be a Gold Glove finalist every year

Eaton takes pride in his defensive work in OF

NEW YORK -- White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton entered Saturday afternoon's contest at Yankee Stadium ranked second in the Majors with a 2.8 bWAR, trailing the Astros' Jose Altuve (2.9).

Eaton also led the Majors with his 1.6 defensive bWAR. While the White Sox catalyst is thrilled by his overall excellence through the first 36 games of the 2016 season, and even more excited by his team's first-place standing, there's one small point of contention that sticks with him regarding the notion he is not a capable center fielder defensively.

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"I hate that my one year wasn't very good in center washed me as a good outfielder," Eaton said. "I want to be a Gold Glove finalist every single year, and this year is no different. I'm just doing it in a different position."

The Defensive Runs Saved for Eaton this season stands at 15, per Baseball-Reference.com, compared to -14 last season in center. Eaton saved a first-inning run for Chris Sale on Friday by taking extra bases away from Mark Teixeira with a running catch in right-center and Aaron Hicks on second with two outs.

Those 15 runs saved this season reflect a better defensive outfield overall for the White Sox, with Austin Jackson's move to center basically giving the club two Gold Glove-caliber players at the positions. It's not a season-long level of success that Eaton is taking for granted.

"Again, anybody can do it for a month or a month and a half," Eaton said. "You have to do it for a full six months and bring that game every single night.

"It's the signature of a good player, to be able to go out there consistently. Continue to play good baseball, and at the same time, have some lucky balls hit your way that you can make plays."

In 2014, Eaton's first full season with the White Sox, he had 12 Defensive Runs Saved as the everyday center fielder. But some people forget that Eaton was an American League Gold Glove finalist at the position.

"Then all of a sudden I'm the worst defensive center fielder," Eaton said. "I think I'm as good as what I did in 2014. I'm not '15 by any stretch. It was a very weird, fluky year that if you went and looked at how we all played, weird and unorthodox got me to where I was.

"Gold Glove finalist should be my goal every year, if not to win it. I just go out and try to play good defensive right field every night, just like I did in center."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.