Daily Dish: July 6
See also: Wednesday's Daily Dish
See also: Today's Baseball America Prospect Report
Things certainly have changed for Terry Evans this season. A relative unknown heading into this season, Evans put up career power numbers this season at high Class A Palm Beach--in his third stint in the Florida State League in as many years.
A 47th-round pick in 2001 out of Middle Georgia Junior College, Evans blew up at the right time this season--enough to be dealt to the Angels Wednesday for righthander Jeff Weaver.
Evans batted .311/.373/.550 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in 238 at-bats at Palm Beach, then proceeded to hit four more homers in his first three games at Double-A Springfield. In 75 at-bats overall for Springfield, Evans batted .307/.369/.640.
Not bad for a guy who spent all of 2003 and the majority of 2004 at low Class A Peoria before finally being promoted to Palm Beach--where he stayed until his power emerged this year. It may be surprising to learn that Evans hasn't made any major changes to his overall approach.
"Out of nowhere, I guess," Evans said. "I really haven't changed anything in my approach physically, it's more about being calm and relaxed and my faith in God has really allowed me to do that. I know you get a lot of athletes saying similar things, but it was like turning a switch. There isn't pressure anymore and that's the best feeling in the world.
"I know people probably get tired about athletes thanking God for their successes, but in my case it's absolutely true. I don't have that frustration anymore when I go 0-for-4. I just move on to the next day and I'm not pressing like I used to when things weren't going well."
Evans moves from Springfield to Double-A Arkansas--from a team that is currently 3-10 in the second half to the Travelers, who are 6-7. He also joins Angels slugger Brandon Wood, making the middle of the Travs order suddenly a lot more dangerous.
The Cardinals moved Evans all over the outfield during his four years in the system, but Angels GM Bill Stoneman told the L.A. Times Evans will be the everyday center fielder in Arkansas.
"I've played them all and I'm probably most comfortable in center," Evans said. "You just get better reads off the bat and it's easier to get good jumps on balls for me."
Coming into this season, Evans' career numbers wouldn't give any indication of a player on the verge of a breakout season--he's batted .239/.303/.394 with 40 homers in 1,420 minor league at-bats.
"When you look at his career numbers, there's nothing prior to this year to suggest he'd be playing like this," Stoneman told the paper. "But he is playing like this."
Checking Out Maybin
Low Class A West Michigan got a surprise last night when Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski decided to pop in for a visit. It was his first chance to check out Cameron Maybin, the Tigers first-round pick in 2005 and he had to be pleased by what he saw.
The outfielder from Asheville, N.C. went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases in helping West Michigan defeat Lansing 5-1. He is now hitting .309/.409/.470 with 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
"I had a pretty good night. (Dombrowski) had a chance to see what I can do," the 19-year-old Maybin told the Grand Rapids Press.
Maybin was not the only Whitecap to impress Dombrowski. Leftfielder Justin Justice went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer while righthander Sendy Vasquez threw six shutout innings to get the win and improve his record to 6-6, 3.02.
"I was impressed with the way a lot of guys went about their business tonight," manager Matt Walbeck told the paper. "That's the kind of stuff you want to see from your players when the general manager is in town."
• The Indians pulled righthander Adam Miller from the Futures Game as a precaution. The club wants to limit his innings this season--a year after he missed two months with a strained elbow ligament. Miller, who is 8-5, 3.75 in 96 innings at Double-A Akron this season, is expected to miss one start in the rotation prior to the Eastern League all-star break. Righthander Sean Smith was named as Miller's replacement. Smith is currently 8-1, 2.42 in 86 innings for the Aeros after starting the season at high Class A Kinston . . . In other Indians news, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff returned to the lineup after missing almost three weeks with a strained left hamstring. Kouzmanoff went 2-for-3 in his return and is now hitting .432/.483/.678 in 180 at-bats . . . More Tribe news, Trevor Crowe went 0-for-3 last night in a rehab assignment at low Class A Lake County. The Indians outfielder strained an oblique on June 11 for high Class A Kinston while swinging the bat. He is now 0-for-5 in two games with Captains but will not be there long as he is set to be promoted to Double-A Akron on Friday. A first-round pick in 2005 out of Arizona, Crowe was scheduled to be promoted from Kinston before he got hurt. He hit .329/.449/.470 for Kinston in 219 at-bats . . . High Class A Bakersfield outfielder Ben Harrison is making a strong case that he's ready for a promotion. The Rangers' seventh-round pick in 2004 out of Florida had two more hits Wednesday and is on an 8-for-13 tear over his last three games. Harrison ranks second in the California League in home runs (18), third in RBIs (70), and fifth in slugging (.554) . . . Royals righthander Luis Cota continues his rollercoaster season at hitter haven High Desert. Cota had his best stretch of the year to start June, going three straight starts without giving up an earned run, but then was bombed for 14 earned runs over his next three starts, failing to get out of the first inning in two of them. He has bounced back nicely in his last two starts and struck out a season-high 10 batters in a win against Lancaster on Tuesday. He allowed two earned runs over five innings to pick up his first win since June 5 . . . Cubs righthander Jae-Kuk Ryu left his Wednesday start for Triple-A Iowa when he was injured trying to beat New Orleans Henry Mateo to first base. Ryu, 23, faced just two batters and was relieved by Jerome Williams. Ryu is 3-6, 3.87 in 86 innings for Iowa . . . After limiting Texas League batters to a .194 average in his first 13 starts of the season, Rockies righthander Ubaldo Jimenez has found the early going in the PCL a little, well, rocky. Through two starts, Triple-A batters were hitting Jimenez, 22, for a .320 average, though the 6-foot-4 righthander had not given up a home run in 12 innings and had posted a 18-13 groundout-flyout ratio . . . If there was a glimmer of intrigue in Rookie-level Casper's 20-7 loss to Ogden on Wednesday, it was Rockies fifth-round pick Helder Velazquez. Drafted out of Puerto Rico, Velazquez is the club's youngest player, and yesterday, doubled as its most powerful. The slick-fielding shortstop had the first four RBI of his career with two extra-base hits on Wednesday, power that had not yet been expected from Velazquez' small frame. "(Velazquez) made two great plays defensively, hit a home run and a double that almost left the ballpark. That's pretty good for a 17-year-old," Casper manager P.J. Carey told the Casper Journal. "He has great reactions, and he is going to get physically stronger. This kid is a very good looking young ballplayer." . . . The early rounds saw two mound debuts on Wednesday, as Mariners first-round pick Brandon Morrow and Royals third-round pick Blake Wood both opened their professional careers. Morrow's outing turned out the better of the two, throwing one perfect inning in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Morrow struck out one batter and retired two via groundballs. Wood struggled in a start with Rookie-level Idaho Falls, hitting his pitch count before making it out of the second inning. Wood allowed three hits, three walks and one earned runs before leaving the game after 1 1/3 innings.
Contributing: Matt Eddy, Aaron Fitt, Kristin Pratt, Bryan Smith.