Adam Eaton didn’t want to talk about his hot start to the season on Friday morning.
The leadoff man opted to let his performance speak for itself and was focused on the White Sox, who at 3-1 are off to their best start since 2005.
The first White Sox player with four straight multi-hit games to open a campaign since Nellie Fox in 1955, Eaton declined the only question about his performance in a group media session and instead discussed Friday’s hot topic, club chemistry.
“(The start) gives us confidence, definitely,” Eaton said. “It gives fans confidence. I think the credit is how we came together in spring training. Anybody who was in Arizona throughout spring training can second and back me when I say we really came together as a unit from Day 1 to when we left for San Diego. These are a special group of guys. We’re all pulling in the same direction, and that was pretty prevalent in the first four games of the season.”
A year after he had a miserable start to the season, Eaton’s 2016 is headed in a much better direction.
In 2015, Eaton didn’t produce an RBI in his first 109 plate appearances. He hit .192 through the end of April and had a .497 OPS. Even though everyone struggled, Eaton wore it the hardest and missed three games with the flu in early May.
But then he rebounded and he hasn’t stopped hitting since.
Eaton had an .834 OPS after May 5 last season.
And through four games this season, Eaton’s play has been ridiculous.
He’s 9-for-16 and has reached base 11 times in 18 plate appearances. Eaton too has adjusted well to playing right field, tracking down most everything hit his way.
[SHOP: Get your White Sox gear here]
“We know he would always be an important tablesetter piece for us at the top of the order,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Certainly this last extended stretch here has been even beyond what I think would be reasonable to expect from a production standpoint. But from an important point of our lineup standpoint, it’s consistent with our expectations, meaning when he’s going well, it helps the rest of the line keep moving and runs scored.
“I think the only thing that probably surprises me with regards to Adam is some of the criticism that’s heaped upon him for small flaws in his game. Obviously there’s a few base running blunders here or there that he needs to clean up and is working on. Diving into bags at times, potentially risk some injury his first year here that we talked about.
“But this is an extremely valuable piece to a successful club and based on some of the criticisms or suggestions I’ve read over the last few months on him, I think some folks might miss his merit. They miss the benefit of what he does.”