PHILLIP EVANS, THIRD BASEMAN
|Born: September 10, 1992
Drafted: 15th Round, 462nd Overall, 2011 (Mets)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: La Costa Canyon HS (Carlsbad, CA)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Evans had a disappointing senior season in high school that dropped him out of the early rounds of the draft, but the Mets took him in the 15th round and signed him to a a well-above-slot bonus. Scouts thought he would eventually show roughly average power. He was drafted as a shortstop but was expected to move to second due to inadequate range, as he has below average speed. His arm is above average. He played mostly short in the low minors, though, as his defense there improved. More recently he’s become a utility player who plays third the most. He struggled at the plate much of the time until he reached AA, when he suddenly started to hit. He eventually got into 34 games with the Mets. He had very large platoon splits in 2018-19. The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training.
Evans signed late and the Mets moved him up through three different short-season levels. He got into a total of nine games, all at shortstop. Baseball America rated him 21st in the Mets’ system after the season.
The Mets sent Evans to the New York-Penn League, where he played exclusively at short. He didn’t hit a great deal, but showed good plate discipline. BA rated him 16th in the system.
Evans had a rough year in full season ball. He continued to play short exclusively.
Evans moved up to high A and hit a little better, but not well. He spent half his time at short and split the rest between second and third.
The Mets sent Evans back to high A. He missed the first six weeks of the season, then put up about the same numbers as the previous year. He played mostly second and third.
Evans opened the season back in high A again, but moved up to AA in late April. At the higher level he suddenly started to hit, with good gap power. The improved hitting was accompanied by a sharp drop in his walk rate. The Mets divided his time among the three infield positions. BA rated him 26th in the Mets’ system after the season.
Evans played mostly third and some at second in AAA. He hit reasonably well, although it was in the high-offense environment at Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. His walk rate moved back up. The Mets called him up in September and he got some time at second and third.
Evans spent most of the season’s first four months in AAA, but got several brief callups. While there, he hit for increased power. He played mostly third, but also saw time at second and short, and in left. The Mets called him up in late July, but he suffered a fractured tibia at the beginning of August and missed the rest of the season. The Mets outrighted him after the season and he became a free agent. The Cubs signed him to a minor league deal in December.
Evans spent the season with the Cubs’ AAA affiliate, playing mostly third but also some at first and second. He hit well, with good power, but you have to take into account the offensive explosion in AAA due to a more lively ball.
Evans made the Pirates’ 30-man roster out of summer camp and was added to the 40-man roster. He got off to a good start at the plate. With nearly the entire team mired in a hitting slump of biblical proportions, Evans earned a regular spot in the lineup. He mainly played third, but saw a little action at first and in the outfield. Unfortunately, after he’d played just 11 games, Evans suffered a broken jaw in a collision with Gregory Polanco. That kept him out the rest of the season.
Evans beat out Todd Frazier for the corner utility job in spring training. He got off to a good start, with a .732 OPS and four home runs in April. In early May, though, he went on the injured list with a hamstring strain. He returned after a month but slumped, batting just .198 with little power through the first week of August. The Pirates sent him to Indianapolis, where he didn’t hit much, either. They brought him back up in September when they had injuries, and he went 1-for-7 through the end of the season. On defense, he divided his time more or less evenly between the four corner positions.
Evans’ collapse after returning from injury came at a bad time for him. Michael Chavis gives the Pirates a better option and they have a bunch of upper-level prospects who could fill utility roles. Evans should be a leading candidate to come off the 40-man roster.
|2022: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $650,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 9/8/2017
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: September 8, 2017
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2018, 2021)
MLB Service Time: 2.069
|June 8, 2011: Drafted by the New York Mets in the 15th round, 462nd overall pick; signed on August 15.
September 8, 2017: Contract purchased by the New York Mets.
October 25, 2017: Outrighted to AAA by the New York Mets.
March 29, 2018: Called up by the New York Mets.
June 6, 2018: Designated for assignment by the New York Mets; outrighted to AAA on June 8.
July 24, 2018: Called up by the New York Mets.
November 2, 2018: Outrighted to AAA by the New York Mets; elected free agency.
December 19, 2018: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Chicago Cubs.
November 4, 2019: Became a free agent.
December 17, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
July 23, 2020: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.