MMO Fair Or Foul: Phillip Evans Might Never Make It?

From time to time I will check out other Mets websites, and blogsites. I have as they say, some “friends in the biz,” and I enjoy seeing what they’re up to on occasion.

Today I was on Mack’s Mets and I saw something there, an opinion by a “scout,” about one of our Mets farmhands, and I have a real problem with what I saw. I really don’t know what kind of scout this Dave Gershman is, but I’ll tell you one thing, I wouldn’t let him scout movie locations, let alone baseball players. And I certainly wouldn’t quote him in blog or article, as if he had some kind of baseball knowledge that would either enlighten or impress me, cause that ain’t gonna happen.

I did a little snooping….and I found this explanation on Gershman:

Dave Gershman is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a baseball publication focusing on unique and advanced statistics. Dave also writes for Marlins Daily (a Florida Marlins blog), and the Penn League Report as he is a writer and freelance scout for the New York Penn League.

Oh ok, he follows the Marlins, and he’s a freelance scout for the New York Penn League? For the League? Or for himself? I don’t get it. I guess I just take things literally.

I really don’t see why any of that makes Mr. Gershman an authority, and someone who can criticize a Met player for publication, when his accurate knowledge about said player, wouldn’t even fit into a thimble. I have seen enough games this year, I feel, to critique Mets minor leaguers. But I would never presume to know so much as to critique the opposition. I just don’t have sufficient expertise to do that without sounding like a ninny to someone who knows.

In this case Phillip Evans of the NY Mets organization is the target of some not very flattering remarks by Mr. Gershman, which are no doubt his opinion, and he’s entitled to that. But since he knows nothing about the subject of that opinion, he would have been better served to keep his trap shut. Or fingers in his pockets.

The thing that surprises me is how Mack, my old buddy, could actually print such drivel on a site with the name Mets in the title. Does he have a purpose in promoting bull crap about our own young prospects? Look when a player deserves criticism, I am the first to dish it out, but I certainly don’t take pleasure in it. I’d much rather write positive stuff. But when I see someone publishing a bunch of negative crap, that isn’t even accurate or reasonable, I have to say something.

Here is what appeared on Mack’s site earlier today in it’s entirety:

I asked independent NY-Penn scout Dave Gershman if SS Phillip Evans is starting to show the signs that he was worth the high pick? Gershman said: “my thoughts on Evans. I don’t think he has a position. He can hit, but he really doesn’t fit anywhere as a permanent fielder and doesn’t have much power. Not sure he’ll make it.”

Now first of all, when it was still Mack writing, he asked Gershman has Evans started “to show…that he was worth the high pick?” What high pick would that be Mack? In your estimation the 15th round pick in the draft is a “high pick?” Because that’s where Evans was drafted. Fifteenth. 15th. Numero 15. Fifffteeeeeenth. That doesn’t sound “high” to me.

Now for Gershman. Hey Gershman, when you are scouting a baseball player what sort of things do you look for? How tall he is? How muscular? If he can grow facial hair? What’s your criteria? Do tell. Say, you know what? I got a better idea. Don’t bother because we at MMO, could care less. This stupid opinion of yours on Evans, that has been duly noted and registered above, is the only writing by you that will ever appear on this site, believe me. Unless you can come up with something even stupider, we could always find room for that (wink wink).

First you state he doesn’t have a position, and that he doesn’t fit in anywhere as a “permanent fielder.”

I don’t know how often you have seen Evans play. And it really wouldn’t matter if you saw him play a hundred times if you don’t understand what it is your looking at. I have seen him play just ten times this year. But I have been impressed over and over by his ability to play shortstop. What I have seen is a guy with a very strong and accurate arm, who makes all the plays he should make at short.

Playing at Brooklyn this year, Evans has handled 226 chances at shortstop and committed four errors. That translates to a fielding percentage of .982. For his career, Ozzie Smith had a .978 fielding percentage. Evans has also, despite his young age, been a leader on the infield for the Cyclones.

When I have seen him play, I noticed one thing about him that he has a knack for. He is very good at picking up an out on a play, where there really wasn’t an out to get. On at least three to four different occasions I saw him field slowly hit ground-balls, in incredibly awkward positions, and make throws from all different angles.

He’d flip the ball from somewhere that looked like his arm-pit in time to nip a runner at second. He’d field a tough hop and throw across his body on the run, and still get the runner at first. I have seen him make a throw from deep in the hole, and the kid’s arm is impressive. By the time he reaches the upper levels his arm may only grade out as a bit above average for a big league shortstop, but what’s wrong with that? Not everyone can throw the ball like Jose Reyes.

The best example of his unappreciated abilities to me, was in a game on July 1st at Hudson Valley. It was the bottom of the ninth, with the Cyclones nursing a 3-0 lead. Hudson Valley had the bases loaded with one out, tying run on first. The Renegade hitter bounced a slow hopper in between short and third, Evans charged aggressively, while angling to his right. He fielded the ball off balance and leaning way forward, but was able to stay on his feet long enough to rifle a side-arm throw across his body to Richie Rodriguez at second. Rodriguez, with the runner from first plowing into his legs, made a rocket throw to first to just barely nip the runner in a bang-bang play that won the game.

That was a sensational double-play even by big league standards, and would not have been possible if not for a spectacular play by Evans. Getting the out at second was enough, but to do it in time to complete a game-ending double-play is what makes a player, a winning player.

Second, Gershman says that Evans can hit, but “doesn’t have much power.”

Look, I’m not saying Evans is the next Greg Luzinski. All I want to point out is this: Evans is 19-years-old. He is playing in the New York Penn League, where the average player has gone to college and is between 21 and 22-years-old. In Ike Davis’ first year in pro-ball at Brooklyn, he hit zero home runs. And he had spent three years at a major college program already, Evans was playing in high school last year. This season in 182 at-bats, Evans already has five home runs, which is not a bad start. For a young guy, 5’10” and 185 lbs. I would say he has “shown some pop.” But “doesn’t have much power?” How did you come up with that assessment Gershman? Never mind.

And then if he hadn’t dazzled you with his brilliant observations up to that point, Gershman, Mack’s “expert,” went on to sum up Evans by saying: “Not sure he’ll make it.” Whoa, hold the presses. Gershman has spoken!

Hey Gershman, guess what? We’re not sure you’re going to make it either.