After a solid, but unspectacular season in 2016 with Pensacola, the Reds promoted Phillip Ervin to Triple-A. The outfielder started out the season with a 4-game hitting streak. That came with three walks along the way and stealing two bases. After going 0-3 on the 10th to end his hitting streak, he would put together a nice stretch over the next eight games, hitting .310 with three home runs and three doubles. Ervin would be promoted to the Major Leagues and make his debut on the 22nd as a pinch hitter. He would go 0-2 with a walk over three games – all in a reserve role, before being sent back to Louisville to finish out the month. Between the two stops he performed well, hitting .269/.329/.507 in 74 plate appearances.
May began with a massive slump for Phillip Ervin. He had just two games in which he had a hit over the first nine games played. That stretch spanned the first two weeks of the month. He hit just .061 over 35 plate appearances. While things improved in the second half of the month, they still didn’t go well. Ervin went 13-52 (.250) with four walks and just two extra-base hits. It was a very tough month as he hit just .176/.231/.200 on the month with six walks and 26 strikeouts in 92 plate appearances.
The first week of June followed the trend set in May for Phillip Ervin. The outfielder went 4-23 (.174) with just one extra-base hit. The next week things began to pick up. While he hit just .227, he walked six times with just two strikeouts and made his hits count as he slugged .409. The third week was another step forward for Ervin. He hit .391/.462/.478 in seven games played. The final week of June was a bit of a slump as he went just 4-20 (.200). Consistency was an issue, but he rebounded some from May, hitting .250/.359/.341 with 14 walks and 18 strikeouts in 104 plate appearances. He would also steal eight bases during the month.
July got out to a torrid start for Phillip Ervin. In the first week he went 11-26 with five extra base hits. In the second week he didn’t have any extra-base hits, but did go 5-14 (.357). The third week was more of the game. Ervin hit .310 and added in three extra-base hits in his seven games played. The final week of July was a bit of a slow down for the outfielder, who hit just .133 in 30 at-bats. Overall, the month was another step forward as Ervin hit .293/.352/.444 in 110 plate appearances with eight walks and 18 strikeouts. He also added another eight stolen bases.
August began with Phillip Ervin being called up to the Major Leagues. He spent a week on the bench, not playing before returning to Triple-A. Over the next week he hit .346 with four walks. He was then recalled to the Majors and saw actual playing time. Ervin entered the game on the 16th against the Cubs mid-way through and went 1-2 with his first Major League hit, a solo home run. He started the next day and went 3-4 with a double, walk and another home run while driving in four. After two pinch hit appearances, he wouldn’t play again for several days before being optioned back to the minors. Before playing, he returned to the Major Leagues. He would go 1-5 in his three games with the Reds to finish the month. In limited action between Triple-A and with the Reds he hit .385/.455/.667 over 45 plate appearances.
From the start of September through the 9th, Phillip Ervin would have a 6-game hitting streak, racking up a hit in each game. He would go into a slump the rest of the season as hit playing time dried up, going just 3-25 in the final three weeks of the year.
For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Phillip Ervin Spray Chart
*this is only for the minor leagues*
Phillip Ervin Scouting Report
Hitting | Ever since he was drafted, Phillip Ervin has been a big time pull-oriented hitter. That changed in 2017 as he worked to go the other way and actually hit the ball to right field more than left. It did help him have the highest average he’s had since 2013, but he still struggled to hit for average. At this point his hit tool is below-average despite a solid contact rate.
Power | While his slugging percentage has been low for most of his career, it’s been more because his average has been low than a lack of pop. He’s got average power in his bat.
Running | Phillip Ervin show off above-average to plus speed. He uses his speed well on the bases.
Arm | He shows an average arm that plays fine in left or in center, but would be below-average for a typical right fielder.
Defense | Phillip Ervin is an above-average defender thanks to his above-average to plus speed. The issue arises in that he’s below-average in center field, which is where his bat would play the best.
Phillip Ervin hasn’t exactly been beating the door down to the Major Leagues. He’s held his own each step of the way at the plate. Ervin has used solid power and a good ability to walk and steal bases to make up for a low batting average. Defensively, he’s capable of handling center field. But he would be towards the bottom in terms of defense among the capable starting caliber players in the Major Leagues. In the corners his bat simply doesn’t play as well.
While it’s probably a year too early to say that his future is very likely to be that of a 4th outfielder, that’s where things are looking towards right now. He simply hasn’t shown enough with the bat to make up for the center field defense he would provide to start every day in most scenarios. In the corners the bat just isn’t enough right now even with the good defense he would provide. With that said, he looks like an ideal backup outfielder right now. There’s some pop in his bat, he can cover you in all three spots in the outfield and he’s a strong baserunner.