Yesterday, 26-year old LHP-Dana Eveland was one of three players to be designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics. Now that he is fresh on the market, does he fit into the present or future of the Kansas City Royals? Let’s take a look to find out.
Dana Eveland was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2002 draft but as a draft and follow, didn’t sign until May of the following year. He started out his professional career as a closer in the Pioneer League and was very effective, posting a 2.08 ERA, 14.2 SO/9, and 5.13 SO/BB in 26.0 innings. Eveland started the 2004 season ranked as the 16th best prospect in the Brewers system and made the atypical switch from closer to starter so he could develop his entire arsenal of pitches. While pitching in Low-A and Double-A, he threw 141.0 innings with a 2.74 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 4.75 SO/BB.
Heading into 2005, Baseball America moved Eveland up four spots in the Brewers’ prospect rankings to number 12 and his Prospect Handbook profile included the following:
He displays good poise on the mound and has some deception as well as a feel for setting hitters up. He pounds the strike zone and usually works ahead in the count.
After logging just 23.2 innings in Double-A the season before, Milwaukee elected to start him at the same level to open 2005. As a member of the Huntsville Stars rotation he went 10-4 with a 2.72 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 2.58 SO/BB in 109.0 innings pitched. On July 16th, at 21 years old, Dana Eveland made his major league debut against the Washington Nationals. He entered the game in the 8th inning and proceeded to pitch 1.2 innings while allowing 1 hit, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts. After his appearance on September 21st, he had 29.2 major league innings under his belt with an ERA of 3.94, but he ran out of gas. In his final 2.0 innings, over four appearances, he allowed 5 H, 8 ER, 4 BB, and 1 SO and ended the season with a 5.97 ERA.
In 2006 Dana Eveland started the season in Triple-A, and had climbed into the organization’s top-10. He was now ranked as Milwaukee’s 7th best prospect. Eveland would go on to split the season between Triple-A Nashville and the Milwaukee Brewers staff. The results differed greatly. In Nashville he pitched 105.0 IP with a 2.74 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 2.68 SO/BB, but he was unable to pitch at a similar level with the Brewers. With Milwaukee he had an 8.13 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, and 2.00 SO/BB in 27.2 IP. After the end of the season, Eveland was traded with Doug Davis and Dave Krynzel to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Brewers received Greg Aquino, Johnny Estrada, and Claudio Vargas in return.
Now a part of the Diamondbacks organization, Eveland would manage to pitch only 32.2 innings in the minors and another 5.0 innings in the majors thanks to a finger injury that washed out most of his season. On December 14th, he was one of six players Arizona sent to Oakland to acquire Dan Haren and Conor Robertson. In addition to Eveland, the Athletics received Chris Carter, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Carlos Gonzalez, and Greg Smith.
Back healthy and part of a new organization, Dana Eveland spent most of the 2008 season as a part of Oakland’s rotation. He made 29 starts and threw 168.0 innings, finishing with a 4.34 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 1.53 SO/BB. He also made 3 starts in Triple-A with a 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 5.25 SO/BB in 21.0 innings.
The 2009 season proved to be Eveland’s worst as a professional. He struggled in the majors with a 7.14 ERA and 2.18 WHIP in 44.0 innings of work. His H/9 jumped a whopping 5.1 from the previous season going from 9.2 to 14.3. To make matters worse, his BB/9 jumped 1.2 while his SO/9 dropped 1.8. Eveland’s SO/BB for the season was a very unhappy 0.85. His struggles were not confined to the major leagues however as he pitched 124.0 innings in Triple-A and finished with a 4.94 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 1.80 SO/BB. All three marks were the worst of his minor league career.
Outside of his 2009 season, Eveland has proven he can dominate in the minor leagues at every level. He hasn’t found great success in the majors yet, but he has a number of things working in his favor. He’s a lefty, he’s 26-years old, he has command of four major league average pitches, and he has a grasp of the art of pitching. The only red flag in his early scouting reports as a prospect were concerns about his conditioning and several comparisons to David Wells in terms of his body type.
As far as the Royals are concerned, they should absolutely be taking a look at Dana Eveland. His major league resume is fairly similar to Lenny DiNardo’s but Dana is three years younger and has a far more impressive minor league track record. Dayton has been looking for a lefty for the rotation and I believe that Eveland could fill that role in Kansas City for a few seasons. At least until the wave of lefties starts arriving from the minors.