Who’d you rather? Adam Eaton or Norichika Aoki?

Who’d you rather?” is a popular segment on the Dear Mr. Fantasy Baseball Podcast and something we’ve brought to print before. Who’d you rather have on your fantasy baseball team, Arizona’s Adam Eaton or MIlwaukee’s Norichika Aoki? Both are speedy and have little home run pop, but which outfielder will bring more fantasy baseball value in 2013?

Both of these guys have a fun story. Adam Eaton once had to do the right thing and return a stack of $20,000 checks when he mistakenly got the wrong paycheck. There was an Adam Eaton that pitched for the Phillies and, yeah, they were his checks.

The 5-8 Eaton has hit well at every stop in the minors, showing good plate discipline, and surprising pop for his size. Known for his work ethic, he stole 82 bases in the minors in 110 attempts. (Check his full scouting report here.) He tore up the PCL and has nothing left to prove in the minors. But will the strong defender be the starting center field for the Diamondbacks in 2013 or is he destined for 4th outfielder status?

Aoki didn’t have guaranteed playing time in 2012 but earned his way into more at bats and became a pleasant surprise for fantasy baseball owners who were smart enough to snatch him off the waiver wire.

Norichika AokiThe Japanese import – some call “Ichiro-lite” – has an fun approach to hitting, in that he’ll often employ different batting stances dependent upon the count. If you don’t read Beyond the Boxscore, you should, and you can find a full scouting report there.

On one hand you have a player who was considered a 4th outfielder who played his way into more time, and on the other you have a guy penciled in to start who may lost at bats to Gerardo Parra as the season wears on. Right now my money is on Aoki and I’d rather have him on my 2013 fantasy baseball team, but I think they are both worth keeping an eye on.

There is also the possibility that Justin Upton is traded, which would almost guarantee Eaton regular at bats. But I won’t presume to understand the minds of MLB GMs, so I’m just speculating. There’s a reason they get paid millions and we write about baseball on the internet. Am I right?

Now that we’ve establishing that I’ve made nothing of my life, lets make some projections:

Norichika Aoki
Best Case 601 88 14 67 32 0.304
Reasonable Projections 558 80 10 51 26 0.288
Worse Case 480 68 7 44 21 0.276


Adam Eaton
Best Case 570 84 14 62 28 0.292
Reasonable Projections 480 69 10 49 23 0.280
Worse Case 326 44 6 36 16 0.264

So even though Adam Eaton is 6 years Aoki’s junior and has some legitimate skills of his own, Aoki has a more established path toward at bats, and it’s at bats that make all the difference in the world in fantasy baseball. Winner: Aoki.

Tags: Adam Eaton Diamondbacks Norichika Aoki Outfielders

  • WisBrave

    I’ll take Aoki as a safer pick and the lineup backing him. Then I’ll take your best case as what I’m expecting him to have, minus a little on AVG. I’m liking him as one of my targets.

    Eaton I’m hoping to pick up for my bench. Like his upside but expecting some bumps.

    • Clave

      Don’t tell many people about Aoki though. We want him to be a secret come draft time!

  • Clave

    OK, who saw that Cody Ross signing coming? You certainly would think that Eaton loses ABs, no?

    • Dixon

      Yeah, although I have to think Kubel or Upton will be moved. I am doing them in our team profile series, I hope that move is made by that time. Thankfully that’s our last division