With all of our stars sidelined aside from D Wright – it’s been an interesting year for many players in the organization that probably never figured to have an opportunity to play as much as they have in 2009. So continuing our analysis of these role players that have suddenly become so crucial to our fate this season – let’s take a look at Nick Evans – who gets a second chance to prove he belongs in the majors as an important right handed bat in 2009.
Nick Evans is a fifth round draft choice of the Mets – selected out of high school in the 2004 Amateur Draft. He was a third baseman in high school – but has spent the bulk of his minor league career at first base.
Here’s a recent scouting report on Nick Evans:
Nick Evans 1B/OF/3B…..R/R…..23…..2004 (5) high school (AZ)
Strengths: Strength. Moderate bat speed/ power. Plate discipline. Soft hands
Weaknesses: Contact/BA ability. Pull conscious. Speed. Arm strength
Comments: Strong hitter recovered well from ankle/hand injuries in 2007 to play a prominent role for NYM. Drives ball hard to pull field with moderate bat speed and hit for BA, though his plate discipline regressed. Proved to be versatile on defense, though tools are average at best.
Evans first broke out in 2007 in High A Ball (St. Lucie) – batting .286 with 15 HRs – but importantly showing greatly improved plate discipline 53 BB/64 K’s.
As Joe D. wrote in a prior post – Evans continued his success in 2008 at AA (Binghamton) leading to brief callup last season. However he’s struggled a bit since being demoted and hasn’t been having a great 2009 in the minors before getting called up a few weeks ago.
Evans call up in 2009 is more due to the fact that we are in desperate need of a right handed bat than any great leap in performance on his part. In fact he’s struggled in the few ABs he’s had in AAA this season. But believe it or not – Evans is the most promising and close to major league ready righty bat we have in the system (the only other options are veterans Emil Brown and Mike Lamb in AAA).
While Evans has shown some promising signs – possible 20 HR power and decent plate discipline – he hasn’t proven any of those things at a level higher than AA. In 2008 – he certainly didn’t look ready for MLB pitching – and honestly there hasn’t been any indication in 2009 that that’s changed.
Unfortunately Evans probably still needs another year or two in the minors – and hopefully this second MLB stint will not set his development back should it prove to be similar to last year. Also it’s never a good thing to run out of options on a possible prospect (see Nieve, Fernando).
While it would be nice to see him do well – Evans is not a 2009 solution for the Mets – only a stopgap until starters return or an outside replacement is found to fill our need for another right handed hitter.
In the long term it’s possible he could be in the mix – but at this point with either Danny Murphy or (more likely) some outside player playing 1B for the Mets in 2010 – Evans will again have to look to the OF for ABs.
In the short term – Delgado’s timetable for return looks like August at best – although that’s completely speculative – since there hasn’t been much encouraging news about his rehab. At best he is a late season returning commodity to help us down the stretch – if we are still relevant. (and please – IF we resign Delgado to anything more than a 1 year deal – shoot me..)
A three month replacement like the much discussed Derosa (now gone to the Cards) – and potential pickups like Nick Johnson and Aubrey Huff make sense – but only if the price is negligible. Neither of these options are enough of an upgrade to make a panic type trade of prospects (see: Zambrano, Victor for Kazmir, Scott aka – the Genius of Steve Phillips).
Dealing prospects is a chip that we should resort to only if we think we need one final piece for a potential WS run – not for a stab at possible contention.