Posted by Thomas Brennan at 10:00 AM
The first reason I like Phil Evans is his nice, concise name. Sounds like a 1960's movie star to me.
You write a similar article about Kevin Kaczmarski (my # 22 Top Prospect), for instance, and it takes a half hour longer just because of the length of his name and spelling it right.
If Evans was on anyone's pre-2016 list, it might have been a list of guys heading into their last year before being released. The 15th rounder out of high school was a low power .230s hitter over his first 1,500+ minor league plate appearances. Uninspiring, for sure.
And then, Evans gets stuck in early 2016 in St Lucie again, due to a minor league infield logjam, and good grief, he started out 4 for 28 there - uh, oh...is the end near, I remember thinking at the time.
Then, promising utility guy Jeff McNeil went down with an injury, and as it turned out, for the season, and Phil gets promoted to AA and of course continued to struggle, right?
Wrong, he exploded, and won the AA batting title, going .335/.374/.485 in 96 games. Radar screen, let me introduce you to Phil Evans! Yeah but he fizzled down the home stretch, right? How can we criticize or diminish this guy, right?
Nope, he went an amazing 52 for his last 130, which my math say is .400. I personally like .400 hitters, I don't know about you.
He has beefed up from when he was signed as a teenager, and is listed at a short 5'9", 220. With the added beef, his power game in 2016 began to blossom, with 38 XBH in those 96 games. No speed (9 of 16 steals in 1900 minor league plate appearances), but he makes good contact.
Phil will play 2017 as a 24 year old, and after his stunning 2016, he is one of the most fascinating guys for me to watch in 2017. Lots of middle IF competition in this minors organization (not to mention in Queens), but as I said, he is now on the radar screen. And he's taking his bat in 2017 to the happy hitting grounds of Las Vegas. How about .350 this year, Phil?
He is a versatile infielder, and could well have a career as a team sub in the majors, as I see it now.