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Former Mets utility man Phillip Evans has bloomed with the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Phillip Evans #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on April 13, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Phillip Evans #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on April 13, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Phillip Evans played 34 games for the New York Mets in 2017 and 2018 combined. The results were nothing short of mediocre. Granted free agency after the 2018 season, Evans joined the Chicago Cubs for a year before signing on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020.

Something’s in the Pittsburgh water. Evans slashed .359/.444/.487 in his first 45 plate appearances for the Bucs in 2020. With apparently nothing to lose, the ex-Mets utility man seemed to blossom in Western Pennsylvania.

The trend has continued into 2021. Still bouncing around at a variety of positions, Evans is in the lineup because of his bat. He already has three home runs (more than anyone on the Mets) and a .275/.373/.490 batting line to go with it.

Is this a case of another ex-Mets player headed toward stardom?

Certainly outperforming the expectations anyone had of him, I’m not so sure this is a case of yet another Mets castoff becoming an All-Star player. Evans is hitting well, but he’s not about to win an MVP—I think.

His time with the Mets wasn’t nearly as successful as the time Justin Turner spent in New York. Turner was far more productive and a guy we saw far more. Evans had trouble getting any playing time whatsoever.

For whatever it is worth, Turner’s first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers was his age 29 campaign. Right now, Evans is putting together a fine season with the Pirates at 28. He won’t turn 29 until September.

Peaking in at a few other former Mets

We all know it’s essential to never put too much stock into what a player does in his first week or two. A fine example of this is how Wilson Ramos is doing with the Detroit Tigers. His early six home runs to begin the year are still there, but he’s now hitting only .235.

The Seattle Mariners, meanwhile, have a roster with multiple former Mets pitchers. Chris Flexen (1-1, 3.38 ERA), Justin Dunn (1-0, 3.72 ERA), and Rafael Montero (1-0, 3.24 ERA with 2 saves) are all performing at a high level to start the season.

Finally, a visit to the Toronto Blue Jays locker room in search of ex-Mets brings us to two very different years. Steven Matz is a perfect 3-0 after three starts. He also boasts an ERA of 1.47. Anthony Kay hasn’t been so great. Pitching out of the bullpen, he’s the owner of more than a lonely heart—he also has a 10.80 ERA after one poor performance.

Next. Biggest Mets surprises of 2021 so far

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I’m not sure we’ll find any other former Mets in a similar position as Evans. If there’s one out there, let us know. We probably forgot he was ever here.

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