Evans has come a long way since the Cardinals drafted him out of junior college at the tender age of 19. He wasn't even home when St. Louis scout Roger Smith called to inform him he'd been selected in the 47th round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.Evans, who grew up in a small-town environment, didn't know much about the Draft then, and was in a gym working out when his mother called to tell him the good news. He went back to working out after thanking his mother. Evans always knew he wanted to play professional baseball, and it didn't matter who, when or where he was drafted. He just wanted to play ball. A longtime fan of the Braves, he was able to work out with veteran Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz on occasion and considered him one of his influences in the game. Evans felt he was right there at home plate when the Braves' Sid Bream slid home with the winning run of the 1992 National League Championship Series. He was only 10 years old at the time. He still cherishes a photo of the play at the plate. Evans has been establishing his own memories since. He's been a Player of the Week in the Minor Leagues, and the Angels' Defensive Player of the Month last summer. And there was that big league home run. These days, he's still soaking it in, observing his more famous teammates as they prepare for the season. "I am all ears," Evans said. "I learn by watching and listening. I enjoy watching these guys. It's rare to be able to watch so much talent in the same outfield." It's an outfield he's ready to join.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.