The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Evan Chambers in the third round of the 2009 draft, and signed him almost immediately. His stat line during the first two seasons has been very interesting. His .241 batting average has been low, and his 31.5% strikeout rate is high, neither of which is a good thing. However, he has an extremely high 18.4% walk rate, along with decent power and speed. In his first full pro season in 2010 he hit 12 home runs in 415 at-bats, and stole 35 bases. Chambers is a prospect to watch going forward, as he would become one of the top prospects in the system if he started hitting for average.
John Dreker of Pirates Prospects recently sat down with Evan, talking with him about his career in baseball, and his review of his first full season in the pros. Here is what Evan had to say:
John Dreker: Hi Evan, could you start off by telling the fans about yourself, how long you’ve been playing baseball and at what point you knew you could possibly not only go pro, but go as high as a 3rd round pick to the Pirates?
Evan Chambers: Well I’ve been playing organized baseball since I was 3 or 4 years old. I say organized because my mother has a picture of me from right when I learned how to walk with a bat in my hands. She said that was always my favorite toy. Growing up I always knew that playing baseball was what I wanted to do for a living. I played other sports (basketball and soccer) but I always enjoyed baseball the most. I found out I had a chance to get drafted around 9th grade when I started to see scouts and hear from a few here and there. From then on the questionnaires and phone calls came in bunches.
John: What was your first full season of pro ball like? Any surprises?
Evan: My first full season was awesome. The daily grind for that long of a period of time makes you learn a lot about yourself on and off the field. Like anything in life it was up and down throughout the year but I ended up on the upswing.
John: Did you wear down at all playing everyday, especially during the summer, for the first time?
Evan: I didn’t wear down too much this season. My off season work involves a lot of stretching and massages so I very rarely run into “nagging” injuries when I start playing. The only thing I encountered was my legs being sore every once in a while. The weather during the summer can get pretty intense the further south we travel but the advantage of me growing up in Florida is that I’m used to the humidity and temperature.
John: You show remarkable patience at the plate. Did you always have that approach or did it develop slowly over time?
Evan: Honestly my patience at the plate was developed over a long period of time. All throughout little league I was a pretty free swinger and I got away with it. When I moved higher and pitching got better I found myself striking out a lot as a result of a lack of plate discipline. I feel like my eye is god given and my knowledge of the strike zone came from trial and error early in my career.
John: What are you working on during the off-season and do you have any particular goals for the 2011 season?
Evan: So far, this off season’s focus has mostly been on staying in shape, vision and tracking, and just all around strengthening myself. Going into spring training and the 2011 season my focus will be on being more aggressive at the plate, capitalizing on simple situations, and boosting my teams run production in every way. I will also be on a strict throwing program to strengthen my arm.
John: Any final thoughts for the Pirates fans?
Evan: Final thoughts for Pirates fans…. A change is coming. It’s inevitable with the amount of talent we have in our system and the knowledge of our entire coaching and administrative staff. For the true fans who have stayed true to the black and gold will be rewarded in the near future.