The Angels outfield saw a lot of action this season, just not in the way that fans wanted. In terms of new players and an endless carousel of outfield rotations, the Halos defense was constantly on the move, opening the door for several new names to make their mark on the 40-man roster. Arguably one of the most memorable additions to the outfield this season was Adam Eaton, who played 25 games with the Angels.
Eaton is no stranger to the outfield, as he previously played center field with the Chicago White Sox before being released by them in July, shortly after his recovery from a strained right hamstring injury. However, his stint as a free agent didn’t last long before he was signed by the Halos on July 14.
When he joined the Angels this year, Eaton’s statistics suggested that he was going to bring power to an outfield lineup that was suffering the loss of superstar Mike Trout. In 2019 when he was with the Washington Nationals, the outfielder ranked 4th in the National League for triples, 9th for most runs scored, 17th for stolen bases and 19th with a .365 on base percentage.
From the moment he signed, Eaton became a steady presence in right field, playing 10 complete games during July and playing consistently through 11 more games in August before the Angels released him on August 20. His 2021 performance didn’t exactly match his 2019 energy from a statistical standpoint as he often left the field with no hits to contribute to the offense. Defensively, he offered more steady support for the team, and his chemistry with newbie center fielder Brandon Marsh made for an entertaining duo on the field.
From July 14 to August 20, Eaton played 25 games and closed out his 65 at bats with an even .200 batting average, recording 1 home run, 2 RBI and 13 hits.
25 Games / 65 AB / .200 Avg. / .232 OBP / .277 SLG / .509 OPS / 13 H / 1 HR / 2 RBI / 5 R / 2 2B / 2 BB / 1 SB
Best Offensive Performance
Aug 5 vs. Texas Rangers
Eaton earned his best batting average of the year, .214%, on August 5 against the Texas Rangers when he hit his first home run as an Angel and followed that up with an RBI to help the Halos secure a 5-0 win Texas.
Adam Eaton's first home run as an Angel! pic.twitter.com/C5Xg05EPQP— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) August 5, 2021
Best Defensive Performance
Aug 2 vs. Texas Rangers
In a close game against the Texas Rangers where the Angels were down 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Eaton relied on his speed to make a sliding catch to rob outfielder Eli White of an RBI. The catch ended the inning, and although the Rangers came back to win the game 4-1, Eaton’s burst of defensive power was reminiscent of his impressive past season performances and a great reminder of the potential he holds as an outfield player.
July 27 vs. Colorado Rockies
Of course it’s easy to choose a defensive moment from Eaton’s time in right field, but it’s worth an honorable mention that the outfielder also made his pitching debut in 2021 with a quick appearance on the mound in the 9th inning against the Colorado Rockies on July 27.
When the score reached 12-3, Joe Maddon threw caution to the wind, bringing in Eaton to finish out the game as a closer. And as surprising as it was for fans to see their right fielder taking on batters from the hill, what was even more surprising was Eaton’s accuracy and speed in the strike zone. A strike thrown at 87 mph? Shohei Ohtani was impressed, and so were we.
What to Expect in 2022:
The Angels parted ways with Adam Eaton on August 20 of this year, and it looks like his free agency days will last a little longer than expected with the MLB currently under lockdown pending the acceptance of a new CBA. In comparison to his previous years, it seems that Eaton has lost some steam in his performance, but there’s still potential for him to be a solid outfield addition to another major league team.