Before a game against the Giants, I talked to the Diamondbacks’ outfielder Adam Eaton about the first pitch and patience. That conversation may have had some unintended consequences.
Eno Sarris: Is it a mindset? Are you waiting for *this* pitch? Or are you waiting for a good pitch?
Adam Eaton: Depends on the situation for sure. In the leadoff spot, you don’t really wait for a pitch. As a leadoff hitter, you’re usually going to see a heater unless you get two strikes. And you want to see a lot of pitches. You almost want to see offspeed to let the guys behind you see those type of pitches. Depends on situations. In the leadoff spot, situation dictates how aggressive you can be, how many pitches you see and how comfortable you can get.
Sarris: You’re right, the numbers say that the first pitch of the game is like 90% fastballs and a lot of times in the zone. How do you balance “I need to see more pitches for my teammates” with “this first pitch is maybe going to be the best pitch I see”?
Eaton: Well yeah, it’s very difficult. If you roll that heater over, guys behind you get really ticked off. You want to swing at that pitch, but you also want to make sure that you see pitches for the guys behind you. Gotta be a little more passive than aggressive in the leadoff spot. If you have a question if you should swing or not, probably shouldn’t swing. For me, getting used to the pitchers, you gotta see more pitches. It’s a big deal for me to see more pitches. I’ve seen [Ryan] Vogelsong a couple times, I made my debut off of him, so maybe tonight we could see a first pitch swing on a heater.
Hot News Update: Monday night, Adam Eaton swung at the first pitch again… against Ricky Nolasco, whom the Diamondbacks have seen three times this season.