MMO Top 20 Mets Prospects – #14 Phillip Evans, SS
Welcome to part seven, of the MMO Top 20 Mets Prospects countdown. Today’s entry is Mets prospect #14, infielder Phillip Evans. The Mets made Evans an over-slot pick in the 15th round of last June’s amateur draft, out of high school in Carlsbad, CA. While Brandon Nimmo garnered all the media attention, the Mets quietly signed Evans to a contract less than 24 hrs before the Aug. 15th deadline for signing drafted players. At the same time, the Mets also signed 1st round sandwich pick Michael Fulmer to a contract for about $650K. They gave the same amount to Evans, the largest signing bonus the organization had ever given to any player who wasn’t a 1st or 2nd rounder. That shows just how important this player is in the minds of the front office, and based on the money they gave him, Phillip Evans is a player they obviously wanted very much, and view as a future major leaguer.
Coming out of high school, Evans was considered one of the top four or five shortstops in the draft. He is a very talented and athletic player, who is polished as a fielder and a hitter, and who exhibits maturity and strong leadership qualities. Evans is not a big physical specimen at 5’10″ and 185 lbs, but as a hitter he does generate very good power for his size. This is due to his swing, which is fluid and smooth, well balanced with good weight transfer, and smooth hip rotation. He has strong wrists and forearms which gives him a quick bat, and allows him to handle the tough inside pitch while covering the outside of the plate also. He is a hitter that hits to all fields, and can go with a pitch the opposite way, as well as turn on an inside fastball.
As an infielder, he has soft hands, good technique, a competent, quick release, and a strong throwing arm. He does all the little things and plays the middle of the infield so smoothly, he makes it look effortless. There are some thoughts that his lateral movement and range won’t enable him to play shortstop at the major league level, and that a move to 2B may be in the cards for Evans one day, but that remains to be seen. He is considered a fundamentally sound player with maturity, and solid upside. What the Mets got was a very talented infielder in the 15th round, who because of signability questions, dropped to them from perhaps as high as the 2nd round.
Statistically there is not much to point to regarding Evans. His late signing was of course the reason he only netted 34 AB’s in his first professional season. Starting out with a cup of coffee in the GCL, followed by a muffin in Rookie level Kingsport, Evans finished up the season when he joined Brooklyn for their last couple of games and to provide bench depth for them in the NYPL playoffs. For his 34 AB’s he hit .294 with 7 runs, 10 hits, 4 2B’s and 4 RBI’s.
Evans makes this list based purely on projection, not on any stats. He has a very advanced skill set that doesn’t really compare to anyone else in the organization. His combination of fielding ability, ability to hit for average, ability to hit with power, and leadership skills grade out as someone who should move quickly through the organization. The idea of him making the big leagues sooner than most other players his age is not that much of a stretch. A true indication should come very early next season, when the Savannah Sand Gnats announce their opening day roster. If it were to include a 19-year-old shortstop named Phil Evans, he could be well on his way in no time.
Check back on Thursday for the next installment of the MMO Mets Top 20 Prospects list. Next up: Number 13
My short list includes:
- Gilbert Gomez RF
- Darin Gorski LHP
- Wilmer Flores INF
- Jordany Valdespin 2B
About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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