2010 Analysis: Nick Evans
How do we evaluate a player who had only 37 plate appearances at the Major League level? A difficult, if not impossible task.
Evans fought his way back to the bigs after a terrible slump that pushed him down to AA in 2009. He began the ’10 season in AA as well, smacking 17 HRs in 88 games before a late-season promotion to AAA. He continued to swing the bat well for Buffalo, finishing with a .314 AVG / .384 OBP / .557 SLG in 157 plate appearances. He was part of the MLB expanded roster in September and hit .306 while used primarily as a pinch-hitter.
What Evans showed us in 2010 was similar to what we saw of him in 2008 — a long swing that showed potential power but also a vulnerability to swinging and missing, adequate defense, and slow baserunning. Though his minor league numbers have historically suggested that he has a patient approach and good strike zone discipline, but he has yet to show either at the MLB level — probably because he hasn’t been given enough regular duty; pinch-hitters are generally expected to be aggressive. Evans may also have changed his approach in MLB due to confidence issues, and/or a need to prove his ability. Whatever the case, it would be interesting to see what Evans might accomplish if given an extended opportunity.
Evans turns 25 in January, and has shown signs of improvement as a minor leaguer. He should be given every opportunity to win a job on the big club as a utilityman / pinch-hitter. Personally I’d love to see what might happen with a platoon of Evans and Chris Carter in LF but that’s unlikely to happen unless something drastic changes with the current outfield situation.
One thing that I continue to wonder about is whatever happened to Evans’ attempt at catching? He can already handle the outfield and infield corners, and adding catching to his resume would seem to be a no-brainer — both for the Mets and Evans — if he can handle it even in an emergency situation. If anyone has any info on the subject, please post in the comments.