Anybody I get into Mets talk with is over time going to hear of a quote/idea/ or general baseball philosophy that I received in one of my daily Mets conversations with who I call My Crazy Uncle Ritchie. I call him this with the upmost fondness and a little bit of a buddy like punch in the arm. He is the reason I am a Mets fan in March. Or if you would prefer, he is to blame for me being a Mets fan as I cry in my Starbucks in September. (But this year that will change). For example; there was not a single day that passed in Willie Randolph’s entire tenure as Mets manager were I did not here a minimum of 10 times per day “Willie has no expletiven idea how to handle a pitching staff.” Well needless to say that my Crazy Uncle Ritchie was right, like he usually is, and about a year too late the organization realized the same thing. The reason he said it 10 times a day for 3 &1/2 years is because he is crazy. Anyway, several times a day for the last 4 or five months I have been hearing. “They better hold on to that Nick Evans kid. He looks like he has the make up to be a very productive hitter. You can also tell that he is going to develop more and more long-ball capabilities the more comfortable he gets. I am telling you Bren they better not screw this kid up. He could be very special. Did you hear what the expletivin Yankees are trying to do now?”
Unfortunately I had to wait until the Dodgers signed Manny Ramirez before I posted this. I admit it; I was a little mesmerized by the idea when the Manny rumors were gaining wind even though the captain was not on board. But now that this is in the past and we move towards opening day for all teams from the big squad on down I must say that I took my uncle’s advice and looked a little closer at this Evans kid.
D.O.B : 1/31/1986 There is that year again. I have to find out why it seems so significant within this forum.
Vitals: Good heavens the kid is right handed. Part of the Big Binghamton 3 last year (The well hyped Dan Murphy, and recently Marinered Mike Carp being the other 2) Evans’ AA numbers stood up to what I like to call the minimum requirement minor league range test. Batted .311 with a .365 obp. Normally I like to see at least a 75 point disparity between batting average and on base percentage. He did not meet this criteria. And 54 points is a big difference than 75 points. But, I see 2 other factors that sway my opinion more towards his favor. 1) Because he was needed at various times on the big club he only had 296 at bats in AA. That is different than the standard big league starter’s 400-450 at bats. I am not going to make this about math but if he had 5 or six more bases on balls he would likely have cleared the 75 point plateau. Especially towards the end of the season when the single A pitchers get promoted and are only interested in showing off how hard they can throw and give up more walks in the last month than any other 2 months combined. And 2) In 2007 in St. Lucie facing said single A pitching his o.b.p. was .374 with a batting average of .286. So we are not talking about an impatient hitter.
Up – Side: Though I am not sure how reliable my sources are, but I will say that they are multiple, and in one case very close to the big league team. I have heard that he was hurt last year for periods beyond his stint on the D.L. but was not a complainer. He just went out and played ball and made no excuses. That is worth a lot to me. Scouting reports on his potential vary from very good to nothing to write nothing about. However; they all seem to be consistent in saying that he has tremendous potential as far as power is concerned. He did have 14 Hr. 18 2b. &even 7 3b in those same 296 at bats. So when he got a hold of one he usually seems to make the most of it. He only had 2 Hr in 109 big league at bats but that is 3 more than I had.
And let’s face it; He is right handed. At the moment our best right handed bat off the bench on the big club is our back-up catcher.
Prediction: Makes the club out of Spring Training or shortly there after. Why the hell not. He could give a break to Murphy in Left, Church in Right, Delgado at first (All positions he has at least some experience at. Any manager the Mets face is going to have 2 left handed specialists’ available and warm at all times. To me it seems like it is either Evans or Angel Pagan who I am not against but Pagan is another story for another day. For now I have to get this posted because Nick Evans hit a double and a triple against legitimate pitchers today after hitting a grand slam yesterday. I am afraid if I wait any longer it will seem like I am writing an article on what a bright future Jose Reyes has. STOP – Re-read the sentence. I said I was afraid it would happen. I did not make any comparisons. I just told my Crazy Uncle Ritchie that I had to call him back so I could finish this. I get to hear about the afore mentioned double, triple, grand slam and how they better not screw this kid up for the rest of the evening... And I would not have it any other way. (Dig the Doogie Howser ending)
Written By: Brendan Burt