Nate Eaton's unsightly 2023 big league season
Simply put, Eaton didn't hit. An excellent spring training performance — he slashed .324/.390/.514 in 18 Cactus League games — propelled him to a spot on KC's Opening Day roster, but he went 0-for-his-first-14 and didn't find a way to get on base during the first six games he played.
Sadly, things only got worse.
Eaton finally managed to scrape out a single in his seventh game but, after failing to reach base in his next five contests, the Royals sent him back to the minors in late April. A .304 average with a homer, three RBI, and three steals at Omaha, and the Royals' need to replace injured Kyle Isbel on the active roster, helped him get back to Kansas City in the first week of May, but Eaton's ugly battle with big league pitching continued — in 12 games, he hit safely only twice, drew a couple of walks, and was hit once. Within three weeks, he was justifiably back on the road to Omaha.
The Royals recalled him a couple of weeks later and used him primarily as a late-inning defensive replacement. He batted only once and was soon demoted again to Omaha.
Eaton's luster was gone. He had no extra-base hits and an awful .075/.125/.075 line to show for his second partial season in the majors. A miserable performance at the plate, to be sure; he was adequate defensively, but nothing could save him from the ugly and unshakeable plague of his own bat. The Royals designated him for assignment in early November, then outrighted him to Omaha a few days later.
What could lie ahead...