Texas Rangers Top Prospects: #22, Demarcus Evans
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers future is made up of the prospects currently in the organization. Which prospect continues the rankings at #22?
As we hit the middle of the offseason, we’re looking at the Top 25 prospects in the Texas Rangers organization. These are the players that have performed through the 2018 season and offer the most for the club moving forward.
#22: Demarcus Evans, RHP
Right-hander Demarcus Evans jumps into the rankings at #22. Evans is a name that has really entered the Texas Rangers prospect mainstage this past season after having a bit of a breakout year. The Petal, Mississippi native was a 25th round draft pick in the 2015 MLB draft out of Petal High School. With a 6’5″, 275 lb. frame, Evans already fits the mold of a power pitcher in pro baseball and has started to come into his own over the past year.
Evans started his first full season in the Rangers system back in 2016 splitting time with the Rangers Rookie ball and Low-A affiliates. Between the two levels, Evans made 12 starts and 14 appearances in total. His combined 2.95 ERA was impressive but the stat the opened the most eyes was his impressive strikeout rate sitting down 75 hitters in just 55 innings.
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In 2017, Evans spent time at 3 different levels of the Texas Rangers minor league system Rookie ball, Low-A, and Single-A. He suffered some setbacks in the 2017 season despite seeing 14 starts and 20 overall appearances. He went 2-8 on the year and saw his ERA jump significantly to 4.53. He still showed those flashes in his impressive strikeout rate which stayed fairly level at 12.2 per 9 innings compared to 12.3 in 2016.
2018 was the season that Demarcus Evans sort of made his mark in the Rangers system though. He transitioned from being a starter to a full-time reliever and saw marked improvement. In 35 games for Single-A Hickory Evans posted a stunning 1.77 ERA in relief. He threw 56 innings and saw his strikeout rate drop to 16.6 per 9 innings setting down a total of 103 hitters last season. His WHIP was under 1.00 last season and earned him Reliever of the Year within the Rangers minor league system in 2018.
As far as the future outlook for Evans, he likely will remain a reliever for the long haul. His breakout 2018 gives high hopes for his long-term development mainly due to his strikeout rate. While individuals can have singular seasons where they outperform, a pitcher doesn’t stumble into nearly 2 strikeouts per inning by accident. Evans has the stuff to be a high-leverage reliever in the big leagues.
At only 22, he still has plenty of room for development so I wouldn’t expect him in Arlington for a couple more seasons. Expect him to starter 2019 in High-A ball with a shot to finish the year in Frisco if he pitches like he did last season.