For the fan in enemy territory

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nick Evans deserves better

A few years ago, the New York Mets had a sensational and up and coming player in their minor league system. That player is Nick Evans. In January, published a list of the best prospects in the Mets system. Bleacher Report's Matt Esposito wrote a wonderful breakdown of it. However, Evans was not on that list.

In the 2008 season, he was brought up with much fanfare. In the 50 games he played in that season, he hit two home runs. Not very impressive, but for a rookie and for only having limited at bats (109), that's not too bad. He was used more as a bench player and so 28 hits in 50 games is not terrible for a player used in a limited capacity.

Players like Fernando Tatis are allowed to stay on the major league roster with far less production. Not that I'm picking solely on Tatis, but there are players who have been on the major league roster this season who have been just as unproductive for the Mets as Evans was as a rookie in his 50 games.

The following season, he really did struggle. During the 2009 campaign, he only hit one home run in 30 games, or about half of the production in a little over half the time as before. His numbers in the minors for both of those seasons are quite the opposite. In 2008, he hit 14 home runs, while batting .311, while in 2009 he had 13 homer runs.

He has more than proven that he can hit in the minor leagues. He has not been given the opportunity to settle in and adjust at the major league level. While Ike Davis is tearing it up in Queens, he has been given the chance to play consistently.

That opportunity to play everyday is making him a better player all around. No one questions that he can hit in the minors because he already has proven that. He was given the chance to hit in the everyday lineup for the major league team and he has responded.

Evans was never really given that chance. Suppose Ike Davis was a bench player for Jerry Manuel's team right now. From the bench, having an at bat every other day and a start once a week, do you think he would be able to adjust to the majors as well or as quickly? I do not.

Yet, that is what happened to Evans. Unfortunately, he is in a bad position. He either has to wait for an injury at the big league level or he has to wait for his contract to expire to sign with another team that may give him a chance in the majors.

Either way, he is wasting away in the minors. He is not growing as a hitter as well as he could in the majors. He has proven he can hit minor league pitching. Many may argue that he didn't hit major league pitching when he had the chance. But those limited roles aren't enough to truly gauge a player.

If the Mets had any interest in wanting to properly develop him, they would have kept him in the majors. Some players need to adjust at the major league level. He may be one of them. With that said, I highly doubt that he will get that chance again.

He has played outfield before and not very well. There are too many better outfielders in the system to consider before him. He currently plays first base for the AA ball club, the Binghamton Mets. This season, he is hitting .285 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI in 48 games as an everyday first baseman.

The trouble is, there are no spots open on the major league roster for that position either. He might make the roster next season as a bench player if the Mets part ways with a few aging veterans, but in the mean time, his bat and his youth is wasting away.

As the trade deadline looms in July, the Mets may or may not become active, depending on who you were to ask. If they have no immediate plans for Evans, perhaps they should consider trading him before his contract runs out. If so, he could parts ways with them and they would end up empty handed.

This way they could still get something for his talent. If they have no interest in using that talent in the majors or no need to use it, then the wise thing to do would be to acquire someone that can be used for that talent.

Most fans would not want to admit this, but it is the smart thing to do. Instead of stock piling young players that will just waste away in the minors for season after season and that they have no plans of using, use them as trade bait for someone the team needs right now.

Evans has proven he can hit in AA, the Mets need to fish or cut bait with him. Utilize him with the big club or use him for the big club. Either way, he deserves better than this.

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