Q&A with Nick Evans

InsidePitchMagazine.com sits down with Cyclones first baseman Nick Evans for a Q&A session to talk about his 2005 season, if he played the year with a chip on his shoulder, if his relationship with Mike Carp has changed since his move to first base, which Mets' prospects have impressed him the most, and much more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Nick, when did you get the feeling that you weren't going to break Spring Training with the Hagerstown club this past season?

Nick Evans: I guess it was in Spring Training. 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.

Inside Pitch: Talk about your season overall. How do you think things went for you?

Evans: I did pretty well in Extended Spring Training and when I went to Kingsport, I got hot for a few weeks. I was pressing too much in Brooklyn. The atmosphere in Brooklyn was more than I was used to, so it was an adjustment for me. I was streaky this year. I was not as consistent as I'd like to be.

Inside Pitch: It seems as if, with your hot start with the K-Mets, that you were playing with a bit of chip on your shoulders. Would you say that was the case?

Evans: I guess I played a little bit to prove the Mets wrong. 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.

Inside Pitch: You and Mike Carp became good friends in the Gulf Coast League last year. Now that you're competing for the same position at relatively the same level, has your relationship changed? What are your impressions of Carp's play?

Evans: No, it hasn't changed. Our relationship is still the same. In fact, we were roommates down in the Dominican this fall. It is not like we were on the same team battling for playing time. I think we're still fine, relationship-wise. He was hurt for a while at the end of the year, but he tore the cover off the ball during Instructs. The kid can really hit. I'm not even sure if he was on the top of his game [during Instructs] either because of being off for so long. But he looked really good to me.

Inside Pitch: Do you think you made improvements to your offensive game? If so, what were they?

Evans: I think I made major improvements this year. 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. I would like to pick up the ball better and recognize pitches better. Those are my next set of goals.

Inside Pitch: What type of hitter do you think you are and what type of hitter do you think you'll become?

Evans: I don't think I'm a .300 hitter or anything. 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.

Inside Pitch: Every time I see you play, I can't help but think of Pat Burrell. I'm not saying that's the type of player you'll become, but that is who you remind me of at the plate. What do you think of that comparison?

Evans: You know, every comparison I've heard of has been to Pat Burrell. 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.

Inside Pitch: What specifically are you planning on working on this offseason and over the next year?

Evans: Well, I think I can always improve defensively. 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.

Inside Pitch: Tell us a little bit about the transition to first base. How are things working out for you defensively?

Evans: I feel fine over there. I feel really comfortable, especially after a full year over there this year. I just need to gain experience and get more consistent.

Inside Pitch: Who on your Kingsport team from this past season impressed you the most, among the positional players?

Evans: Sean Henry was on fire when I was there. He was just tearing the cover off of the ball. He has all the tools to be a great player. For him, I just think it is a matter of focus. Whether it was shortstop or second base, he plays either of them fine. He's good really good arm strength, so he can play shortstop. But I think he's got the skills for either one. He was looking pretty at second base.

Inside Pitch: Among the Kingsport pitchers, who impressed you the most?

Evans: German Marte threw really well this past year. He didn't fool around too much on the mound and just got it done. I like him a lot.

Inside Pitch: Which pitcher on the Brooklyn staff do you think has the highest upside?

Evans: Bobby Parnell just dominated every time he went out there. Playing first base, I would talk to the other team's hitters at first base and they would always tell me he was just nasty. He just works to fast on the mound that it keeps the hitters from getting comfortable in the box. He has a really good sinker and a good slider.

Inside Pitch: Which positional player on the Brooklyn team impressed you the most this past season?

Evans: Drew Butera is the best defensive catcher I have every played with. I also think he hits the ball better than most people give him credit for. I've never seen anybody get robbed of base hits as much as that guy did this past year. Of course, Caleb Stewart was great for us too, but that wasn't too surprising. I mean, he was in St. Lucie earlier in the year.

Inside Pitch: Now that you've been in the system for two years and have had the chance to see a lot of the guys during the seasons, in Instructs, and in Spring Training, which one Mets' prospect, hitter or positional player, do you think has the highest upside?

Evans: I think the player with the most tools is Carlos Gomez. He runs like the wind and he's got the strongest arm I have ever seen, and not just in minor league baseball either. I mean he's got the best arm I've ever seen, period! I think he's going to hit for power. You can just tell the way he stings the ball that he's got it in him. In fact, I saw your rankings I agree with you. He's got the best potential. If everybody in our system reached their potential, he would be the top talent.

Inside Pitch: Studies have shown that high school players reach the Majors with more regularity than college players. Now that you have a couple of seasons under your belt, are you glad you decided to go pro right away?

Evans: Yeah, I mean I was playing in Brooklyn this year against a lot of Division I guys. It was cool to see that was playing with guys that I would have been playing with and against three years from now. I'm happy with my decision. It was the right one for me.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: Nick, when did you get the feeling that you weren't going to break Spring Training with the Hagerstown club this past season?
\r\n
\r\nNick Evans: I guess it was in Spring Training. 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\nInside Pitch: Talk about your season overall. How do you think things went for you?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I did pretty well in Extended Spring Training and when I went to Kingsport, I got hot for a few weeks. I was pressing too much in Brooklyn. The atmosphere in Brooklyn was more than I was used to, so it was an adjustment for me. I was streaky this year. I was not as consistent as I'd like to be.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: It seems as if, with your hot start with the K-Mets, that you were playing with a bit of chip on your shoulders. Would you say that was the case?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I guess I played a little bit to prove the Mets wrong. 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.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You and Mike Carp became good friends in the Gulf Coast League last year. Now that you're competing for the same position at relatively the same level, has your relationship changed? What are your impressions of Carp's play?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: No, it hasn't changed. Our relationship is still the same. In fact, we were roommates down in the Dominican this fall. It is not like we were on the same team battling for playing time. I think we're still fine, relationship-wise. He was hurt for a while at the end of the year, but he tore the cover off the ball during Instructs. The kid can really hit. I'm not even sure if he was on the top of his game [during Instructs] either because of being off for so long. But he looked really good to me.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Do you think you made improvements to your offensive game? If so, what were they?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I think I made major improvements this year. 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. I would like to pick up the ball better and recognize pitches better. Those are my next set of goals.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What type of hitter do you think you are and what type of hitter do you think you'll become?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I don't think I'm a .300 hitter or anything. 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\nInside Pitch: Every time I see you play, I can't help but think of Pat Burrell. I'm not saying that's the type of player you'll become, but that is who you remind me of at the plate. What do you think of that comparison?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: You know, every comparison I've heard of has been to Pat Burrell. 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\nInside Pitch: What specifically are you planning on working on this offseason and over the next year?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Well, I think I can always improve defensively. 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\nInside Pitch: Tell us a little bit about the transition to first base. How are things working out for you defensively?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I feel fine over there. I feel really comfortable, especially after a full year over there this year. I just need to gain experience and get more consistent.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Who on your Kingsport team from this past season impressed you the most, among the positional players?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Sean Henry was on fire when I was there. He was just tearing the cover off of the ball. He has all the tools to be a great player. For him, I just think it is a matter of focus. Whether it was shortstop or second base, he plays either of them fine. He's good really good arm strength, so he can play shortstop. But I think he's got the skills for either one. He was looking pretty at second base.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Among the Kingsport pitchers, who impressed you the most?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: German Marte threw really well this past year. He didn't fool around too much on the mound and just got it done. I like him a lot.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Which pitcher on the Brooklyn staff do you think has the highest upside?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Bobby Parnell just dominated every time he went out there. Playing first base, I would talk to the other team's hitters at first base and they would always tell me he was just nasty. He just works to fast on the mound that it keeps the hitters from getting comfortable in the box. He has a really good sinker and a good slider.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Which positional player on the Brooklyn team impressed you the most this past season?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Drew Butera is the best defensive catcher I have every played with. I also think he hits the ball better than most people give him credit for. I've never seen anybody get robbed of base hits as much as that guy did this past year. Of course, Caleb Stewart was great for us too, but that wasn't too surprising. I mean, he was in St. Lucie earlier in the year.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Now that you've been in the system for two years and have had the chance to see a lot of the guys during the seasons, in Instructs, and in Spring Training, which one Mets' prospect, hitter or positional player, do you think has the highest upside?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: I think the player with the most tools is Carlos Gomez. He runs like the wind and he's got the strongest arm I have ever seen, and not just in minor league baseball either. I mean he's got the best arm I've ever seen, period! I think he's going to hit for power. You can just tell the way he stings the ball that he's got it in him. In fact, I saw your rankings I agree with you. He's got the best potential. If everybody in our system reached their potential, he would be the top talent.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Studies have shown that high school players reach the Majors with more regularity than college players. Now that you have a couple of seasons under your belt, are you glad you decided to go pro right away?
\r\n
\r\nEvans: Yeah, I mean I was playing in Brooklyn this year against a lot of Division I guys. It was cool to see that was playing with guys that I would have been playing with and against three years from now. I'm happy with my decision. It was the right one for me.
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