With a few exceptions, most notably the David Wright era, third base has been a traditional trouble spot for the Mets. With Wright’s future as a third sacker a huge question mark, to say the least, that position is up in the air. Third has been mostly manned by Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera this season. Neither player likes the position, both are long in the tooth and may not even be back with the Mets next year. One September call-up, Phillip Evans, has shown a bit of production so far in his very small MLB sample.
Evans is a 25 year old who the Mets drafted in June of 2011. His draft pedigree does not jump out at you, he was just a 15th round selection. He worked his way through the the Met’s system, and in 2016 he had a big year at Binghamton. In 96 games he had a slash line of .335/.374/.485, good enough to win the batting title in the traditionally pitcher-friendly AA Eastern League. He earned a promotion to Las Vegas for 2017.
Evans started off slowly in the PCL, and his slash line for the season was just .279/.341/.418. He was batting in the low .200s in the first part of the season, so he did significantly improve as the season went on. With the Mets, Evans has a .276/.323/.345 slash line in 15 games as of this writing. He has yet to hit a homer, and he has been more of a line drive hitter so far as evidenced by his .381 BABIP.
In the field Evans has been shuffled around in September, with games played at third, second and outfield. He has not yet made an error.
What can we look for in Evans going forward? Although he has not shown a whole lot of power to date, that could change. Batters often add to their power as they get into their late 20’s. Evans is listed as 5’10” and 223 pounds, so the frame is there to provide more power. Mets batting coach Kevin Long has had success in tweaking swings and stances to provide more power, and perhaps he can do the same with Evans.
Most scouting reports project Evans as kind of a utility player, able to play second, third and corner outfield respectably, and that could well end up being his role. But his upside is higher than that, if he can increase that OBP and SLG a bit, he might be able to hold down third base full time for the Mets for a few years.