Scouting Mets' Prospect #40: Evan MacLane

The New York Mets drafted Evan MacLane out of Feather River Community College in the 25th round of the 2004 draft. MacLane has shown pinpoint control in his two minor league seasons for the Mets. Ranking #40 among the Mets' Top 50 prospects, here's a scouting report on MacLane.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Evan MacLane
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: November 4, 1982
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 170
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Growing up MacLane was quite the athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and baseball. He was very good at soccer and had an opportunity to even play for an Olympic development team but decided to focus primarily on baseball in his junior year of high school. He felt he could have a very good career playing baseball, and he was correct.

Left-handed pitcher Evan MacLane tallied a 25-6 career mark in two seasons for Feather River Community College, including a 12-3 record with a 2.49 ERA in 17 starts his last season of school, and was named Co-Pitcher of the Year for California in the Juco ranks before being drafted by the Mets. While in school, Evan was one of the hardest workers on the team. He was always in the weight room looking to improve his strength so he could add more velocity to his pitches. "I believe Evan has incredible make-up and knows how to pitch. It seems most kids throw hard, and learn to pitch in minor league baseball. Evan is the opposite. He is learning to throw hard, but is polished in terms of pitch location, selection and shutting down the running game. I think he will continue to mature physically and will need to continue to work hard in strength conditioning. He has shown great improvements in the last two years, and will need to continue to make gains to achieve his MLB goals,", Feather River CC Head Coach Jedd Soto told NYfansonly.com in June of 2003.

Perhaps the most telling sign about MacLane's make up was how he deals with success. While some players look to continue having success, MacLane is always looking to improve. Coach Soto was also impressed with MacLane's desire to get better. "I have not seen a sophomore, who was 13-2 as a freshman, work as hard as Maclane did this season to improve his game. I was impressed with Evan taking the time as a sophomore to really focus on his mechanics, which helped him gain some velocity and allow him to get better bite on his curve ball."

Upon signing with the Mets in June of 2003, MacLane was sent to Kingsport where he displayed his amazing control. He walked just 8 batters in 56+ innings for the K-Mets and right away the Mets realized he was too polished for the lower levels. New York challenged MacLane in 2004, sending him right to Capital City where he and Yusmeiro Petit formed a deadly, lefty-righty combination for the Bombers' rotation. Despite having great success in low-A ball, MacLane's career path had been pre-ordained for him in Spring Training. He was sent to Brooklyn once the short season leagues began so he could anchor the Cyclones' rotation. MacLane once again impressed coaches and scouts alike for his great command and was easily the leader on the staff. Former Cylcones' teammate Michael Devaney was most impressed with Devaney. "He's a pitcher that does not show his fastball very much but still manages to make the batters look pretty bad. He's the perfect example of showing you that you have to pitch, not throw", says Devaney.

So who does MacLane thinks he resembles at the Major League level? "Tom Glavine, just ‘cause I've always looked up to him growing up as a kid. And I've always wanted to be like him and everything. He's had a tremendous career and I think that if I keep working hard, I bet you I can do the same thing", MacLane told NYfansonly.com earlier in the year when he was pitching for Capital City. MacLane also watches Barry Zito and Mark Mulder of the A's very closely, trying to learn some things from the pair of successful left-handers.

Said Coach Soto: "Evan told me, as a freshman, he would improve all his pitches, be an All American, Pitcher of the Year, Most Valuable Player, get drafted and play in the Major Leagues. So far, he has been right on all his predictions. I have confidence he will fulfill the last goal."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2004

Capital City

5-2

67.2

57

10

66

2.39

2004

Brooklyn

5-2

69.0

61

6

68

2.48

2003

Brooklyn

1-1

6.0

3

1

5

0.00

2003

Kingsport

4-1

56.1

59

8

57

2.88


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. MacLane throws a variety of fastballs, all at different speeds. He's added 4 MPH on his fastball. In college, he was averaging between 82-85 MPH with his fastball, and now he can bring it 87-89 MPH consistently. With the added speed, he's able to get hitters out with his fastball rather than just show it to them. He throws a two-seam fastball, a four-seamer, and a cut-fastball that he throws to right-handed batters in the 81-82 MPH range. He gets on top of his fastball really well and is able to throw it downhill.

Other Pitches. MacLane's favorite pitch is his changeup and it serves as his out pitch. His changeup, which averages 76-80 MPH, is devastating to right-handed pitchers, a big reason he's had such good success in the professional ranks. He has worked very hard on improving his 12-6 curveball and it has gotten so good it also serves as an out pitch for him. He's been able to throw his curveball harder as a professional, now hitting between 74-76 with his curve. He's also able to throw a knuckle curveball at times. MacLane worked on a slider this past season and it appears to be working well for him as it helps keep left-handed batters off balance and keeps them from seeing his curveball really well. His slider averages 78-82 MPH.

Pitching. MacLane has always had impeccable control of his pitches. His walk ratios are off the charts and he's able to have success by not allowing the free pass. His improved velocity with his fastball has made his already fantastic breaking pitches that much better. His mechanics are the best they've ever been and he's gotten stronger in his short stint in the Mets minor league system. He has a plan on the mound and is a tireless worker on the mound and in the gym. All of his pitches are very effective in almost any situation. Like his college coach said, MacLane's success is going to be dictated by getting stronger as he is already as polished a pitcher as there is the professional ranks.

Projection. MacLane does not possess the overpowering fastball needed to be a frontline starting pitcher. However, with his control and knowledge on how to pitch, he has a very good chance of reaching the Majors as a back-end starter in the Mets' rotation someday. He's going to have to show the same success at the higher levels but his command is far advanced when compared to the other pitchers at the higher levels.

ETA. 2007. MacLane was sent to Brooklyn this past season to help bolster to rotation and make the Cyclones a winner. He was having great success for the Bombers in the South Atlantic League prior to his "demotion" to the NY-Penn League. He's as polished as they come and needs to be challenged. MacLane should be in St. Lucie in 2005 and then be back on track to reach the Majors by 2007 when he'll still only be 25 years old.

Starting Pitchers

2004 Team

Aaron Heilman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Bob Keppel

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Neal Musser AA - Binghamton Mets
Brian Bannister AA - Binghamton Mets
Yusmeiro Petit AA - Binghamton Mets
Miguel Pinanago A - St. Lucie Mets
Kevin Deaton A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - Capital City Bombers
Vincent Cordova A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Evan MacLane A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Scott Hyde A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Michael Devaney A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Joseph Williams A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Mike Swindell A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Gaby Hernandez R - GCL Mets


Comments

The Mets have some good pitching prospects and the system's depth is only going to get better with the additions of Alay Soler, Matt Durkin, and Philip Humber. Considering they have not pitched a professional inning in the Mets system as of yet, we'll focus on the pitchers that have. Among the Mets' pitching prospects, Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez seem to have the highest ceilings simply because of their age and talent. However, the Mets do have a number of other good pitching prospects that still have time on their side to make their mark. The following starting pitchers are currently in our Tier One group...the top starting pitching prospects in the Mets system.

1) Aaron Heilman - Heilman struggled out of the gate in 2004 but was perhaps the hottest pitcher in the entire Mets' system the second half of the year. All Heilman needs is a chance. Give the guy 30 starts and see what he can do. But that day may never come with the Mets as he appears to be in New York's doghouse. It's a shame too. He's a better pitcher than people think.

2) Bob Keppel - Like Heilman, Keppel struggled mightily to begin the 2004 campaign but finished the year strong. Keppel's always had the repertoire and pitching ability to become a Major League starter. The question has been his strikeout rate. Still only 22 years old and seems forgotten.

3) Neal Musser - With the trade of Scott Kazmir, Musser becomes the Mets' best left-handed starting pitching prospect. A top prospect a couple of years ago, Musser was beset with injuries and had a bounce back year in 2004. Musser is still only 24 years old and should not be forgotten.

4) Brian Bannister - His stats do not accurately portray how good a pitcher he is. Bannister has four plus pitches in his repertoire and has the chance to be a front-line starter someday. Remember, Bannister has only been pitching for 4 seasons...two in college, two in the pros. So as good as he is, he is still learning which is a scary thought.

5) Yusmeiro Petit - The Mets #1 pitching prospect the minute the Mets traded Kazmir. Forget about the pundits and all their talk about lack of "stuff". Petit knows how to pitch at such a young age (19). Drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux, Petit has the ability to change speeds on his fastball and is very deceptive on the mound. Bottom line is he's been baffling hitters from the word go.

6) Miguel Pinango - Pinango was cruising through the Mets system until an injury in St. Lucie ended his season in 2004 after just three starts. Pinango's command is superb. Only Petit's command is perhaps better and even that's not a lock. Still only 21 years old (he'll be 22 by the start of next season), Pinango is still a very good pitching prospect for the Mets.

7) Kevin Deaton - Growing up as an offensive lineman, Deaton is an imposing figure on the mound. Like Pinango, Deaton's rise through the system hit a speed bump in 2004 when he was plagued by injury (tendonitis). His fastball tops off at 94 MPH with solid movement and is still only 23 years old.

8) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

9) Vincent Cordova - Cordova has the talent to be a very good pitching prospect for the Mets. Drafted out of college in 2003, Cordova needs to prove he can get hitters out at the higher level. Like Pinango and Petit, Cordova's success is predicated on his control. He's a Tier One prospect for now but time is not on his side.

10) Greg Ramirez - Used as both a starter and a relieve in his short career thus far, Ramirez is like Cordova. He has the talent and the stuff to be a Tier One pitching prospect for the Mets, but like Cordova, he's going to have to prove it at the higher levels to remain in this group. It's unclear how he will be used in the future.

11) Evan MacLane - MacLane gives the Mets' pitching in their farm system they seriously lack: quality left-handed pitching among their starting pitching prospects. MacLane was dominating South Atlantic League hitters in 2004 before being sent to Brooklyn where he had the same success. MacLane should be challenged in 2005 and will most likely be part of the St. Lucie staff. Like Ramirez, Cordova, Petit, and Pinango, MacLane is all about the control. He has great command of his pitches.

12) Scott Hyde - Hyde was not scheduled to pitch in live games this past season after being drafted but still managed to showcase some good pitching in his stint with the Cyclones. Hyde has the chance to be the "sleeper" among the Mets' 2004 draft picks.

13) Michael Devaney - Among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Devaney is very solid. As is the case with most of the Cyclones' rotation, he'll have to duplicate the same success at the higher levels to remain in the Tier One level of starting pitching prospects.

14) Joseph Williams - Like Devaney, it's hard to dispute the success Williams had in Brooklyn this past season. The fact that he's a lefty aids his chances to be challenged quickly in the Mets' farm system.

15) Mike Swindell - Another college arm that was drafted in 2004 that will have to quickly prove he can become a solid starting pitching prospect for the Mets.

16) Gaby Hernandez - The Mets' third round pick in 2004, right now, Hernandez appears to be second behind Petit with the highest upside among the starting pitching prospects. It's too early to tell, but Hernandez has the talent to duplicate Petit's fast track through the minors.

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