Saturday, March 15, 2008

Breaking Down Eaton’s Spring Start

The Good:
Eaton struck out two hitters and induced seven ground ball outs. That's an excellent sign. You can't be an effective pitcher in Citizens Bank Park if you give up a lot of fly ball outs. In addition he didn't walk a single batter or give up a single run, which both qualify as good things.

The Bad:
Last year Eaton was consistently able to throw strikes early in the count allowing him to get ahead of hitters. Surprisingly he labored to retire hitters in 0-2 and 1-2 counts. Unfortunately that trend continued in this year. 4 consecutive Twins hitters found themselves down 0-2. Of those four only Chris Redmond got a hit. However, Eaton took far to many pitches to put down those hitters.

I don't know where a pitcher should be with their velocity at this point in spring training but Eaton wasn't throwing hard. Usually Eaton's fastball tops out at 92 MPH. The fastest pitch I saw him throw looked like an 84 MPH two seam fastball. That must improve if Eaton wants to win the final spot in the rotation.

The I Am Confused:
Eaton gave up five hits. However, two of those hits should have been caught. Even if I forget those two hits Eaton still gave up three hits in three innings, which isn't that great either.

One issue was that it appeared Eaton had trouble throwing his curve ball for strikes. Admittedly I sometimes can't tell the difference between a slider and a curve while watching the highly pixilated But even I could tell that Eaton's accuracy wasn't always there.

In conclusion there is some evidence to support my hope that Eaton will be able to pitch effectively this season. I have always believed that if healthy Eaton could go 14-8 with a 4.35 ERA. Looking forward to the regular season I can’t help but get excite about both the Phillies and Eaton’s prospects.

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