Short-Season Sunday: Brandon Nimmo and Philip Evans Make Kingsport Debuts

Kingsport Mets 5, @ Bristol White Sox 3

The GCL season ended Saturday, so the Mets promoted two of the jewels of their 2011 draft class, first rounder Brandon Nimmo and 15th rounder Philip Evans to Kingsport for the final three games of the Appalachian League season.

Nimmo, batting ninth, and playing centerfield, was 1-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout. In eight games as a professional, Nimmo has hit .258/.361/.452 with five walks and 10 strikeouts.

Evans, batting eighth, and playing shortstop, was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a strikeout.

The K-Mets season ends Tuesday.  On Sunday, a commenter asked whether the Mets would promote Nimmo and Evans to Brooklyn to keep them playing competitive games for as long as possible or just send them back home for a few weeks until instructs start on the 17th.  The Cyclones, who were Irened out Sunday, play eight games in seven days to finish the NYP season starting Monday and lead the NYP wild card chase by one half game with eight to play.  I’d be surprised if it happened, but it’s really not a bad idea.

On the plus side, it would get two of the better prospects in the system more at-bats.  Their bags are already packed, and they’d get a taste of the big city.  On the other hand, it would turn the final few games of the Cyclones’ season into a circus with media attention.

Would it help the Cyclones on the field?

In the 10 days since the NYP All-Star break, Tillman Pugh has received the bulk of the playing time in centerfield.  The 22-year old Pugh is  off to a nice start with the Cyclones (.333/.448/.583 in 9 games) after hitting an unexceptional .252/.328/.398 in 39 games with Kingsport in the Appalachian League.  Pugh, last year’s 15th round pick out of Sonoma State played at Arizona State his freshman year, before transferring to Gateway Community College in Phoenix and then back to California for Sonoma State.  This article from the Daily News in Washington state, where Pugh was playing in a college summer league in 2010, praises his “blazing speed.”

Travis Taijeron (.299/.399/.551) had been playing three out of four games or so in center through the early part of August.  He missed two weeks after fouling a ball off his ankle, but returned as the Cyclones’ DH Friday.

Fitting Nimmo in at centerfield would not be a problem.  However, Evans might be a little trickier.  The Cyclones’ best player this year has been SS Danny Muno (.335/.441/.490 in 52 games) the team’s eight-round pick in 2011.  Muno did play two games at third this year for Brooklyn and in college.  Evans was a shortstop in high school.  While projections from our own Mike Diaz, Keith LawBaseball America and others see him as potentially moving to second base in future years, I can’t find any evidence that he’s ever actually played the position.   It seems like a stretch that with a playoff berth on the line, the Mets would move Muno to third in favor of Evans, who would be playing games 9-12 of his professional career.

I think it’s a long shot, but I kinda like the idea.  Lets see Nimmo and Evans play.