Phillip Evans is Becoming a Key Bat for Pittsburghby Jamie Gatlin April 15, 2021 0 comments
When the 2021 season began, the Pirates were expecting Ke’Bryan Hayes to lead the offense. So far, Hayes has only appeared in two games due to a wrist injury. In his absence, the Pirates’ depth has been tested as they have tried to replace his bat. One player who has stepped up is Phillip Evans, who can’t stop hitting. The Pirates infielder is in his second season with Pittsburgh and has built on his success from last year.
In his first season with the Pirates, Evans hit .359 in 11 games. His season, however, was cut short after suffering a broken jaw in a collision with Gregory Polanco. After fighting for a spot in spring training, Evans has appeared in ten of the Pirates’ first eleven games. The California native has provided a spark offensively and shown more power than he did last year.
Through 38 at-bats this season, Evans is hitting .342 with five runs batted in. The 28-year-old also has five extra-base hits, including three home runs. While Evans was able to get on base in his first stint with the Pirates in 2020 he only had two extra-base hits. He has also shown good plate discipline and only struck out five times this season while forcing four walks.
Thrillip Evans pic.twitter.com/AfF2iY82Og
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 12, 2021
Additionally, Evans has five multi-hit games so far this season. Three of those have come in the Pirates’ last five games. In that stretch, Pittsburgh has played some of its best baseball this season and gone 4-1. While the Pirates have gotten off to a 5-7 start, good things tend to happen when Evans gets on base. When Hayes does return to the lineup, the Pirates will have to be creative with getting Evans in the lineup.
One way to keep Evans bat in the lineup could be giving him starts in the outfield. While Bryan Reynolds has returned to his rookie form, Dustin Fowler and Anthony Alford have struggled offensively. Evans could also form a platoon with Polanco in right field. Polanco has gotten off to a slow start and is batting .194 so far this season. As the Pirates’ offense looks to build on their recent success keeping Evans bat in the lineup will be key.
As the season progresses, Evans’s performance will be a storyline to watch. He has only appeared in 56 major league games and is looking to prove that his hot start is no fluke. As long as his current play continues, the former fifteenth-round pick will be a constant presence in the Pirates lineup. Regardless of how the season plays out, he has been a pleasant surprise for Pittsburgh in the early going.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images