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.

2011 Projection

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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 December 1, 2010 at 11:51 am
    Ahh, “Nowhere Man”……maybe 2011 will be the year that the Mets’ eyes are opened to the idea of letting a younger, cheaper utility-man get familiar with The Majors — in lieu of throwing more and more money to overpaid, elderly friends of the program.

    As someone who never liked Fernando Tatis, I felt that the last 2 seasons were perfect times to let Evans get accustomed to real pitching on a more regular basis…..especially since “Superman” [::stomach turns::]was so worthless.

    And I do mean that……..especially for the price.

    On his worst day, Evans could give you the same — if not better production off the bench….with the same “versatility” as Tatis was billed to have brought to the table.

    1st Base — Evans showed he could play it; at least as a replacement-level player.

    3rd Base — Same deal; not like we’d be looking to have him play it in anything more than an emergency capacity, anyway.

    Corner spots — Evans can play ’em.

    He mashes LHP; and always has.

    No reason why he wasn’t playing more often on 90+ loss squads. It was pretty obvious that Manuel didn’t particularly care for him…..for whatever reason.

    If he’s not included in some kind of deal this winter, then I’d hope to see him take on a more active role off the bench next season.

    It’s all up to him to back it all up in ST. Otherwise, he may find himself elsewhere….which may not be a bad thing for his career, afterall.