Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Evans-tually Everyone Has A Blog Written About Them

So tell me, Mets fans. Do you know how many players currently on the 25-man roster played for the Mets at Shea Stadium? Well, there are the obvious ones in Jose Reyes and David Wright. There's Angel Pagan, who played briefly at Shea in 2008 before missing most of the season due to injury. (Speaking of injury, Daniel Murphy does not count because he is not currently on the 25-man roster, although he did make his Mets debut in '08.) There are also a number of pitchers, such as Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese, Bobby Parnell and Jason Isringhausen (who was a Met from 1995-1999).

There's one more player who played for the Mets at Shea Stadium and is currently on the 25-man roster. Can't figure out who he is? He's only one of the hottest hitters in the lineup.

The eighth player on the Mets' active roster who played for the team at Shea Stadium is Nick Evans, a man who's paid his dues and looks like he's finally moving in the right direction.

Things are looking up for Nick Evans, especially after his recent play with the Mets.

Ever since he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 amateur draft, Nick Evans has been the player who's racked up the most frequent flier miles between AAA and the majors. Whenever a hitter (non-catcher) has been needed, it's Evans who has made the trip more often than not. After all, his minor league numbers have always been very good.

Evans hit .300 or better in three minor league seasons (2008, 2010, 2011) and reached double digits in home runs in six consecutive seasons (2005-2010), a number that would have reached seven had Evans not spent so much time with the Mets in 2011 (8 HR in 64 games with AAA-Buffalo this year).

Of course, up until the past month, Evans' minor league success did not translate into similar success with the Mets. From 2008 to 2010, Evans made several trips to the majors, but his splits (.257/.298/.410) were nothing spectacular. In fact, they were similar to the numbers put up by former teammates Luis Hernandez in 2010 (.250/.298/.409) and Omir Santos in 2009 (.260/.296/.391).

Then Daniel Murphy was lost for the season and Jose Reyes was disabled for the second time. That meant more at-bats for Evans, who never got regular playing time prior to August. It looks as if that was all Evans needed to finally break free from Quadruple-A status.

During the month of August, Evans has hit .378, with a .429 on-base percentage and a .622 slugging percentage. His OPS is a whopping 1.050 during that stretch. The numbers are even better since he became an everyday player last week (.435/.480/.783).

No one is saying that Nick Evans is going to become a regular player in 2012. Like Daniel Murphy, he is a good hitter without a position. Evans can play first base and left field, but he is blocked at both positions by Ike Davis (assuming he's ready by Opening Day 2012) and Jason Bay, respectively.

But even if Evans doesn't play regularly next year, he should make more airplane trips with his teammates rather than by himself on the Buffalo-Flushing shuttle. Four years of peripatetic activity can be hard for anyone trying to establish himself in the major leagues. After proving what he can do over the past month, it may finally be time for Nick Evans to stay with the big league club past the 2011 season.

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