After enjoying a career season where he set personal bests in homeruns, triples and RBI in 2019, Eduardo Escobar is ready to forget what happened in the abbreviated 2020 season. He is looking forward to a healthy and productive 2021 season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks endured a miserable start to their season, and no one struggled as much as Escobar did. He started the season by hitting .169 through his first 19 games. He finished it hitting .212 with four homers in 54 games. His on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) was .605, his lowest since 2012.
On top of that, he struggled with his pitch selection and it showed throughout the season. He could not lay off the pitches up in the zone and when he did make contact with them, it was usually a ground ball out. Opposing pitchers took advantage of that all season long.
Escobar never really found his swing and many times was slow with it. He appeared to be pressing too hard to get himself and the Diamondbacks going, especially after that forgetful two-win, 18-loss 20-game stretch.
Work Ethic and Personality
Escobar is well respected for his work ethic. His teammates know that about — and like and respect — him for that. He worked hard in the off-season and reported to spring training this year 20 pounds lighter, down from 214 last year to 194. Escobar mentioned in camp that he has never felt better and has more energy and feels stronger.
He is still considered an excellent hitter and one who has some speed on the bases. In 2019, Escobar’s 10 triples ranked first in the NL. In 2018, his 48 doubles ranked first in all of baseball. This would seem to indicate that his showing in 2020 is a one-time forgettable season — one shared by a number of major league players as the league, teams, and players dealt with COVID protocols.
He is a good defensive player with above-average range, good fielding hands, and an excellent arm. He is also one of the quickest players at third when it comes to turning a double play. For 2020, his 87 assists as third baseman ranked fifth in the National League — a bright spot in his season.
Through it all, Escobar’s personality stayed the same. He has jokingly called himself “one of quirkiest people in the league.” He takes satisfaction in keeping his teammates in good spirits. Keeping the clubhouse together not only helps the team connect, but it helps them play better.
With the offseason addition of Asdrubal Cabrera, who plays multiple infield positions, Escobar, who has played games at second the past two years, will see almost all of his starts at third. That could benefit him both offensively and defensively.
A more productive season from Escobar would be a major advantage for this team. If he is hitting well, pitchers will not look to pitch around David Peralta, Christian Walker, or Kole Calhoun (when he returns from IL) to get to Escobar. Pitchers will have a difficult choice deciding whom to pitch around, especially if this team gets the offense going like it has in the past.
With the abbreviated season last year, the 2021 season might seem longer to all the players. We are going to see players and teams have bad days or the occasional slump. However, we know there is nobody more focused than Escobar. He wants to help his team win anyway he can and he is ready to show everyone he can get back to his 2019 form and statistics.
Spring Training for Eduardo Escobar
So far, getting back to his 2019 form looks to be the case. Although veteran players do not pay attention to their spring statistics, it was good to see Escobar get his swing back. He has already hit two homeruns and a triple and has five RBI.
If spring training is indicative of the season ahead, Escobar looks to have a great season.
That is good news for the Diamondbacks.