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Nick Evans, 1B-OF, New York Mets

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-3     WT: 210   DOB: January 30, 1986


 Nick Evans was pushed into major league action as an emergency measure last summer, and held his own despite just a half-season of Double-A experience. He could use additional time in the minors, to refine his swing and improve his plate discipline, but overall he acquitted himself pretty well in New York, and will certainly get more chances. Evans has above average raw power and is particularly dangerous against left-handed pitching, but he probably isn’t going to provide a great batting average and OBP, and his defense is only mediocre. He might not hit quite enough to play first base full-time in the majors, and could end up on the Triple-A/major league shuttle eventually. I think Evans can be a solid major league hitter, but I don’t see star potential, more of a good platoon bat. Grade C+.

David Francis, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-1     WT: 200   DOB: February 8, 1988


SLEEPER ALERT!!  Francis was a 12th round pick in 2008, out of Walters State Community College in Tennessee. As you can see, his pro debut was quite successful in the Appalachian League, with excellent K/IP, K/BB, and H/IP marks. He’s not a soft-tosser, either, hitting 94 MPH at times. His secondary stuff need work, but his command was better than expected in pro ball, and I think he is a significant sleeper. Grade C+; keep a close eye on this one, he could break through.


Conor Gillaspie, 3B, San Francisco Giants

Bats: L    Throws: R     HT: 6-1     WT: 195   DOB: July 18, 1987


A supplemental first round pick last year, 37th overall, Wichita State third baseman Conor Gillaspie got a late-season cup-of-coffee with the Giants, as part of a pre-draft deal. This made him the first player from the ’08 class to reach The Show, although it wasn’t exactly on merit. Nevertheless, Gillaspie is a fairly polished player who should advance quickly up the system. His best attributes are contact hitting ability, strike zone judgment, gap power and a tremendous work ethic. He isn’t likely to be a big home run guy, and his ultimate value will depend on if he’s a .300+ hitter in the majors, or just a .270ish hitter, and at this point we don’t know. His defense at third base is decent but not great. He has a strong arm, and good athleticism, but his range is just average, and he makes more errors than he should. From watching him play in college, I think he can be a solid third baseman with more experience, though he won’t win Gold Gloves. Gillaspie didn’t exactly tear the world up in his first minor league exposure, but the sample size is too small to be meaningful, and he didn’t look out of place on a major league diamond in his brief trial. He could begin 2009 as high as Double-A, and while I don’t think he’s going to be a superstar, he should be a solid player. Grade B-.



Cole Gillespie, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-1     WT: 205   DOB: June 20, 1984


Gillespie was a third round pick in 2006, out of Oregon State. He’s been quietly solid as a pro, producing moderate power with a high walk rate and double-digit steals, despite tools that scouts rate as just average. He posted a +14 percent OPS in the Southern League last year, good but not excellent. More impressive was his .418 Secondary Average, showing a broad range of production beyond his batting average. He lacks the speed for center and the arm for right, but he’s acceptable in left field. Scouts like his leadership skills and work ethic. I think he’s a Jason Bay type; a guy who scouts often overlook, but who always performs to the best of his ability and will sneak up on us someday. His main limiting feature is age: at 25 he doesn’t have a lot of room to grow, but his skills are strong and he should not be underestimated. Grade C+ but a guy I like a lot.