Typically, when a position player comes in to finish off a blowout, they are just lobbing the ball over the plate and hoping for the best. Someone forgot to mention that to Kansas City Royals outfielder Nate Eaton on Monday.
Eaton had spent some time on the mound in college, making 28 appearances for the Virginia Military Institute Cadets. It did not take long for muscle memory to kick in as Eaton was pumping mid 90s heat, along with a sinker and slider, during his inning of work. This was not the usual position player taking the mound.
Nate Eaton with different future for Kansas City Royals?
Eaton had not pitched sine his college days before last night, a five year span between appearances. The results were not exactly impressive when Eaton was on the mound in college as he posted a 6.60 ERA and a 1.911 WHiP over his 45 innings. While he did strike out 46 batters, he also issued 40 walks and uncorked 14 wild pitches. He did have his struggles on Monday, allowing two hits, but Eaton also struck out Adolis Garcia with a 92 MPH fastball to end the inning.
While the Royals had envisioned Eaton as strictly a position player, he appears to have reached his ceiling. He is a solid enough fourth outfielder, also capable of playing at second and third if needed. Eaton is a solid enough bench option but not someone that will generate much attention.
That could change. Eaton would have to work on his arsenal to be more consistent and improve his command. However, he does have the raw stuff to potentially be a weapon out of the bullpen as Eno Sarris’ Stuff+ indicated. The Royals have absolutely nothing to lose – they may as well see if they can find a bullpen weapon with Eaton.
Nate Eaton impressed with his appearance for the Kansas City Royals on Monday. Maybe it’s time to see if he can become a useful bullpen piece.