Eaton developing into top-flight leadoff man

Eaton developing into top-flight leadoff man

SAN FRANCISCO -- Adam Eaton is quickly developing into a solid leadoff hitter, and his numbers support that claim.

Eaton entered Friday with a .385 on-base percentage batting first, as opposed to .333 batting second, and has displayed more patience.

"He's more comfortable," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's starting to play more baseball and getting an idea how you use his tools."

Forcing the opposing pitcher to throw a lot of pitches is one of his biggest strengths as a leadoff hitter. While still being aggressive, he's also patient. He drew 23 walks leading off, or just over 11 percent of his plate appearances entering Friday. That's not the case when he's batting second, walking less than three percent of his plate appearances.

"He's coming around," Gibson said. "He's hard to defend, because he can hit anywhere and has some power. The first time I saw him in Spring Training a couple of years ago, he hit the first pitch off the wall. He's a talented kid."

Rick Eymer is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.