Phillip Evans Should Not be a Casualty of Hayes’ Return to Action

Phillip Evans has gotten a load of playing time since Ke’Bryan Hayes went down with an injury after an awkward swing. Fortunately for the Pirates and Ke’ the injury wasn’t too serious and while we don’t yet know exactly when he will return to action we do know he’s eligible on the 14th.

When he does return, Evans has shown he shouldn’t be forgotten.

Now, you don’t have to believe Evans is suddenly a free prospect or the new J-Hay, I’m not there yet either but he’s at the very least hitting.

He’s batting .368 with two homeruns and 0.4 WAR in the early going. Before you get off on short sample size lessons for me, I’m aware, I just don’t care. Everyone has had small samples to look at and I can’t see a way you take this bat out of the lineup at least until it cools.

Anthony Alford and Dustin Fowler both have worlds of talent, potentially more than Evans but they aren’t performing. Worse than not performing, they scarcely look like they have a clue or anchor to plant their foot and move forward on.

If I’m the Pirates, I move Bryan Reynolds to Center Field and DFA Alford. Put Evans in Left and keep him in the lineup.

I’ve chosen Alford over Fowler because at least Fowler has made some semblance of contact. Alford has 14 plate appearances resulting in 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. I don’t care if you hit in front of the pitcher, that is simply not acceptable. If it’s possible the eye test is even worse than those numbers sound.

That said, I wouldn’t get upset if they chose Fowler, he’s had 14 at bats with 1 walk and 6 K’s, but at least he’s gotten 3 hits to go along. His pathetic, non-competitive strikeout against Kimbrel the other day might have been the most inept plate appearance I’ve seen.

So, either of them could go, and if someone grabs them off waivers, so be it.

Depth is one thing but the Pirates have better options right now on the club without making any major moves.

Now another option is to just send Difo back to the training site which would also risk losing him but I’d rather have his versatility than either of the two Bucco Center Fielders.

Jared Oliva is working in Florida but he too could be an option. Maybe Evans never slows down, but even so the team at some point will want to get back to a defensively solid outfield. Evans will give you 100% effort out there but he’s not exactly a natural fielder out there either.

The point is, I understood bringing both of them north from camp as both would have to clear waivers, but the leash can’t have much more length, they’ve been in a word brutal.

At some point you have to stop being shocked by Evans’ performance and just believe what he’s showing you. If you watched the post game, he isn’t going to tell you himself, he’s quiet and reserved, clearly shies from the spotlight but his bat speaks louder than Alford’s physic or Fowler’s speed.

Evans wasn’t expected to make the club out of camp, he proved us wrong.

Evans wasn’t expected to fill in admirably for Hayes, he proved us wrong.

Evans isn’t supposed to be an everyday player, he’s actively proving us wrong.

Maybe it’s time to start expecting something from Philip Evans instead of just being pleasantly surprised.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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