Evans Playing With Something To Prove

Drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, Nick Evans was surpassed by Mike Carp for the first base job in Hagerstown this past season after moving over from third base. One of the more intriguing power-hitting prospects in the Mets' farm system, Evans played along with New York's plans for him and put up a fine year in two short-season league stops in 2005 in an attempt to prove everyone wrong.

Nick Evans had a very good professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2004, hitting .258 with 10 doubles and 7 home runs in 50 games while playing third base. With his defense at third base not one of his strongest suits, the Mets decided to move Evans over the first base in Spring Training this past year.

The problem with that plan meant that Evans and Mike Carp, two of their better high-ceiling offensive prospects at the lower minor league levels, would now be playing the same position.

The writing was arguably on the wall as early as January as to which prospect would open up the 2006 season as Hagerstown's starting first baseman.

You see, Mike Carp was invited to the Mets' mini-camp for prospects and Nick Evans wasn't. And when Carp took advantage of his opportunity at mini-camp, putting on an impressive hitting display in front of the Mets' brass, it all but solidified Evans' immediate fate.

"I guess it was in Spring Training," Nick Evans told InsidePitchMagazine.com as to when he realized he would not begin the year in Hagerstown. "I just had the feeling I'd be in Extended Spring Training, so I was planning on it pretty much from the beginning. Not getting invited to the mini-camp in January might have been the first sign, but I also got the feeling from the coaches in Spring Training that I was heading to Extended. So I just was pacing myself and getting ready for the season."

Evans didn't mope, using his time to showcase his ability in Extended Spring Training. He wound up hitting over .300 with 5 home runs in Extended Spring Training while acclimating himself to his new position before the short-season leagues opened up play in June.

Expecting to then begin his 2005 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Evans was thrown another curveball. The Mets sent him to Kingsport instead.

Seemingly playing with a chip on his shoulders, Evans lit up the Appalachian League, hitting .344 with 6 home runs in just 15 games with the K-Mets before getting the call up to Brooklyn on July 7th to make his NY-Penn League debut.

"I did pretty well in Extended Spring Training and when I went to Kingsport, I got hot for a few weeks," Evans told us. "I was pressing too much in Brooklyn though. The atmosphere in Brooklyn was more than I was used to, so it was an adjustment for me."

An adjustment it was, at least compared to the Appalachian League. Evans finished his time in Brooklyn hitting .252 with 6 home runs in 57 games for the Cyclones, eerily similar numbers to his debut season with the GCL Mets a year ago.

Still, despite joining the Cyclones three weeks into the NY-Penn League season, Evans finished second on the team in RBI (33). And for the year, he wound up hitting a combined .272 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs, and 57 RBI in his two stops. His 12 home runs lead all short-season players for the Mets in 2005.

"I was streaky this year," the 19-year old first baseman confessed. "I was not as consistent as I'd like to be."

While Evans remains modest over his accomplishments, his performance in 2005 was nothing short of a success.

"I think I made major improvements this year," Evans reflected. "I hit the ball with more authority this year, especially to the opposite field. I was able to cut down on the strikeouts. That was the main thing I was working on. I didn't have any sort of specific numbers in mind for this year. I just wanted to make more consistent contact and if I did that, I thought my numbers would improve."

In 122 career minor league games, just shy of a full minor league season, Evans has put up some impressive numbers: .267, 28 doubles, 6 triples, 19 home runs, and 82 RBI. His numbers, and even his offensive approach at the plate, remind many of Philadelphia Phillies' slugger Pat Burrell, a comparison Evans has heard often.

"You know, every comparison I've heard of has been to Pat Burrell," Evans told us. "When I was down in St. Lucie, the Mets had tapes of the Phillies games and I see it too. I like the way he hits and I'd like to hit like him someday. Our approach is kind of the same. He's also a big white guy that takes hacks and hits the ball hard. I really like the comparison. I think it is a good one."

Like Pat Burrell, Evans knows exactly what type of hitter he is and what his job is on a baseball diamond.

"I don't think I'm a .300 hitter or anything," the confident slugger admitted. "I think I can hit for an adequate average with decent power numbers. I am not trying to fool myself into thinking that I'm going to win a batting title someday. I'm up there to drive the ball hard and drive in runs."

Feeling more comfortable at first base, Evans realizes that it is his bat that will carry him to the Major Leagues. And while he's comfortable with who he is in the batter's box, he's not settling there.

"Well, I think I can always improve defensively," Evans remarked as one of his goals for 2006. "I feel really comfortable, especially after a full year over there this year. I just need to gain experience and get more consistent. What I want to do is try to take what I worked on the last year and work on it even more next year. I want to go the other way more, to try and hit the ball more to right-center. If I do that, I think good things will happen."

"I would like to pick up the ball better and recognize pitches better," Evan continued. "Those are my next set of goals."

They say competition is good for the soul, but in the case with burgeoning Major League prospects, it could be the added incentive to work harder. Nick Evans played the 2005 season with a chip on his shoulder, one which may not go away so quickly.

"I guess I played a little bit to prove the Mets wrong," Evans confessed to Inside Pitch. "It was in the back of my mind when I was going to Brooklyn, but that stuff wasn't going to get me down. Sure, I was disappointed not going to Hagerstown, but after I knew I wasn't going to be there this year, I set my goal to be there next year."

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nNick Evans had a very good professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2004, hitting .258 with 10 doubles and 7 home runs in 50 games while playing third base. With his defense at third base not one of his strongest suits, the Mets decided to move Evans over the first base in Spring Training this past year.
\r\n
\r\nThe problem with that plan meant that Evans and Mike Carp, two of their better high-ceiling offensive prospects at the lower minor league levels, would now be playing the same position.
\r\n
\r\nThe writing was arguably on the wall as early as January as to which prospect would open up the 2006 season as Hagerstown's starting first baseman.
\r\n
\r\nYou see, Mike Carp was invited to the Mets' mini-camp for prospects and Nick Evans wasn't. And when Carp took advantage of his opportunity at mini-camp, putting on an impressive hitting display in front of the Mets' brass, it all but solidified Evans' immediate fate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I guess it was in Spring Training,\" Nick Evans told InsidePitchMagazine.com as to when he realized he would not begin the year in Hagerstown. \"I just had the feeling I'd be in Extended Spring Training, so I was planning on it pretty much from the beginning. Not getting invited to the mini-camp in January might have been the first sign, but I also got the feeling from the coaches in Spring Training that I was heading to Extended. So I just was pacing myself and getting ready for the season.\"
\r\n
\r\nEvans didn't mope, using his time to showcase his ability in Extended Spring Training. He wound up hitting over .300 with 5 home runs in Extended Spring Training while acclimating himself to his new position before the short-season leagues opened up play in June.
\r\n
\r\nExpecting to then begin his 2005 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Evans was thrown another curveball. The Mets sent him to Kingsport instead.
\r\n
\r\nSeemingly playing with a chip on his shoulders, Evans lit up the Appalachian League, hitting .344 with 6 home runs in just 15 games with the K-Mets before getting the call up to Brooklyn on July 7th to make his NY-Penn League debut.
\r\n
\r\n\"I did pretty well in Extended Spring Training and when I went to Kingsport, I got hot for a few weeks,\" Evans told us. \"I was pressing too much in Brooklyn though. The atmosphere in Brooklyn was more than I was used to, so it was an adjustment for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nAn adjustment it was, at least compared to the Appalachian League. Evans finished his time in Brooklyn hitting .252 with 6 home runs in 57 games for the Cyclones, eerily similar numbers to his debut season with the GCL Mets a year ago.
\r\n
\r\nStill, despite joining the Cyclones three weeks into the NY-Penn League season, Evans finished second on the team in RBI (33). And for the year, he wound up hitting a combined .272 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs, and 57 RBI in his two stops. His 12 home runs lead all short-season players for the Mets in 2005.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was streaky this year,\" the 19-year old first baseman confessed. \"I was not as consistent as I'd like to be.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Evans remains modest over his accomplishments, his performance in 2005 was nothing short of a success.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I made major improvements this year,\" Evans reflected. \"I hit the ball with more authority this year, especially to the opposite field. I was able to cut down on the strikeouts. That was the main thing I was working on. I didn't have any sort of specific numbers in mind for this year. I just wanted to make more consistent contact and if I did that, I thought my numbers would improve.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn 122 career minor league games, just shy of a full minor league season, Evans has put up some impressive numbers: .267, 28 doubles, 6 triples, 19 home runs, and 82 RBI. His numbers, and even his offensive approach at the plate, remind many of Philadelphia Phillies' slugger Pat Burrell, a comparison Evans has heard often.
\r\n
\r\n\"You know, every comparison I've heard of has been to Pat Burrell,\" Evans told us. \"When I was down in St. Lucie, the Mets had tapes of the Phillies games and I see it too. I like the way he hits and I'd like to hit like him someday. Our approach is kind of the same. He's also a big white guy that takes hacks and hits the ball hard. I really like the comparison. I think it is a good one.\"
\r\n
\r\nLike Pat Burrell, Evans knows exactly what type of hitter he is and what his job is on a baseball diamond.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think I'm a .300 hitter or anything,\" the confident slugger admitted. \"I think I can hit for an adequate average with decent power numbers. I am not trying to fool myself into thinking that I'm going to win a batting title someday. I'm up there to drive the ball hard and drive in runs.\"
\r\n
\r\nFeeling more comfortable at first base, Evans realizes that it is his bat that will carry him to the Major Leagues. And while he's comfortable with who he is in the batter's box, he's not settling there.
\r\n
\r\n\"Well, I think I can always improve defensively,\" Evans remarked as one of his goals for 2006. \"I feel really comfortable, especially after a full year over there this year. I just need to gain experience and get more consistent. What I want to do is try to take what I worked on the last year and work on it even more next year. I want to go the other way more, to try and hit the ball more to right-center. If I do that, I think good things will happen.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I would like to pick up the ball better and recognize pitches better,\" Evan continued. \"Those are my next set of goals.\"
\r\n
\r\nThey say competition is good for the soul, but in the case with burgeoning Major League prospects, it could be the added incentive to work harder. Nick Evans played the 2005 season with a chip on his shoulder, one which may not go away so quickly.
\r\n
\r\n\"I guess I played a little bit to prove the Mets wrong,\" Evans confessed to Inside Pitch. \"It was in the back of my mind when I was going to Brooklyn, but that stuff wasn't going to get me down. Sure, I was disappointed not going to Hagerstown, but after I knew I wasn't going to be there this year, I set my goal to be there next year.\"
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