Supplemental First Round – 43rd overall 6-4 180
Bats: L Throws: L
Turns 19 on October 13
Robinson High School in Tampa, Florida
HIGH SCHOOL CAREER: Steve Evarts was 9-3 in his senior season with a 0.90 ERA in 113 strikeouts in 70 innings.
RANKINGS: Baseball America rated Evarts as the 75th best player in the nation, the 8th best left-handed high school pitcher, and the 12th best player in the state of Florida.
Braves' Scouting Director Roy Clark:
An excellent projection. He's six-three, six-four. Left-hander. A body along the lines of a Steve Avery. He touches 93 with his fastball and is consistently 90-91, with a real nice feel for pitching. And he's got a changeup. The breaking ball is going to take some time, but it's improving. We're very pleased with him.
Braves' Director of Baseball Operations, Paul Snyder:
He's more of the pitcher and not the power guy. His fastball is going to be average to plus, but it's not going to be a burn out for you. He's got the other pitches too, a curve ball and a changeup. Conventional pitcher.
Braves' Florida Scout Gregg Kilby
We saw him first in Wilmington, North Carolina at the East Coast Professional. You could tell there was a lot of projection there with that body and the arm. He was probably a step behind a couple of other left-handers that were in the state, like Carmine Giardina and Justin Edwards – at that point. He didn't play on a team this fall. So the next time we saw him was at the Diamond Club, which is an event that's put on by all the pro scouts down here in Florida. We take teams from different areas of the state and bring them together for about five days and they play against each other. It's a good event. He shows up at that, and all of a sudden his velocity is up and his changeup is improved and he's grown a little bit. He had established himself as one of those top three or four left-handed high school guys going into the spring. He made a lot of improvement there in that short period of time. So going into the spring he was on our radar screen. We got in there to see him early. This was a great year in Florida for the high school talent, but there were some guys that were up at the top list going into spring that either didn't improve or maybe even went backwards. But he was a guy that just kept getting better and better every time you saw him to where, in our opinion, by the end of the year we though without question he was the number one high school left-hander in the state of Florida.
It's good to see a kid that has the type of body that he does, and you think he's got a chance to get better and you start seeing his senior year. It was very encouraging. I know there's more there. I've seen him bump 93 on the gun. I've never seen 94. I've heard other scouts have seen 94. He's going to sit right there at 89-91 for the whole seven innings of a high school game. His fastball ranged in the times I saw him at 88-93. I've heard 94. His changeup is outstanding. I put a 70 (out of 80 on a scouting scale) on it. I was a little hesitant at first. I started out at 60, but I ended up at a 70. He's got a Bugs Bunny changeup. He's got excellent arm speed on the pitch, so it's very deceptive. You can't tell any difference in it and the fastball. The first few times you see this guy, when he throws that changeup, you've almost got to look at the gun to tell it was a changeup. It looks so much like his fastball. His changeup was at 81-84. It just kind of backs up and has real good bottom to it. It just fades at the plate. It's a real good changeup. And he fills up the strike zone with both his fastball and his changeup. He'll double up on that changeup, in any count, back to back. He's got that much confidence in that pitch, that he can throw it behind in the count as well.
I put (Steve) Avery as a comparison on his body type. He's six-four, 185. He may be a tick over six-four. I think he's probably at six-foot-five. Right now, he's closer to six-four than he is six-five. He's got broad shoulders and a wiry frame. He's got room to put size on that frame too. I think he's going to fill out. He's an athlete. We like those guys. Here's a kid that will show you a 6.7 or 6.8 sixty (yard dash). He fields his position well. He really competes on the mound as well. He has no fear. He really gets after guys.
The knock on this kid with some people was his curveball. There's nothing in this kid's delivery or arm action that tells you he can't throw a good breaking ball. He'll flash you an average major league breaking ball to you, but consistently it's going to be below average right now. I think the reason it's not what you would call an average major league pitch at this point is because the changeup and his fastball are so good that he was able to get a lot of strikeouts on those pitches. Those were his bread and butter pitches, but I think the more this kid uses that breaking ball, the better it's going to get. It's going to eventually be a good pitch for him. He's got the arm speed to throw a good one, and the more he uses it the better he's going to get.
The Braves Show's Bill Shanks:
Well if you were to draw up a Braves' pitching prospect, Evarts fits the mold perfectly. It's funny, when you hear about a kid with this many skills right now, you just wonder how much better he might get after he gets into the farm system and develops even more. Our pitching coaches are going to love this kid. Combined with the other young arms from this draft, Evarts is going to represent the new era of Braves' pitching prospects. It's just a question of which one is going to be the best of the bunch.
Click here for Steve Evarts' 2006 stats with the GCL Braves
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. He can also be heard on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.