Via Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed 23-year-old left-hander Steve Evarts to a minor league deal. He selected 43rd overall by the Braves in the 2006 draft, taken two spots after Joba Chamberlain. Evarts ranked as Atlanta’s 15th best prospect before the 2008 season, and Baseball America lauded his feel for pitching, his upper-80’s fastball, and a dynamite changeup that acts like a screwball. In 98 professional innings, he’s struck out 81 and walked just 16 unintentionally. The problem is that he hasn’t pitched since 2008 due to varying injuries (including at least one elbow surgery) and disciplinary problems. The Braves released him at some point in early 2009.
Evarts has a pretty spotty record; he was charged with criminal mischief after smashing someone’s car with a bat in high school, and earlier this year he was arrested on felony battery and marijuana possession charges. I assume all of that stuff is cleared up and the Yankees did their homework. Chances are they’ll get absolutely nothing out of Evarts, but at some point he was a very promising prospect. No harm in trying.