Key Stats: In his first ALCS Evan Longoria hit a home run in four consecutive games – including 3 on the road. Yet in his first World Series Longoria was 1 for 20. During the regular season Longoria had two months with an average below .240 and 3 months with an average of .300 or better. He’s definitely a streaky hitter, but he was just a rookie.
Skeptics Say: Longoria had 122 strikeouts and just 46 walks in year one. Not a favorable ratio when you compare him to other top notch third basemen. For some reason Longoria struggled against lefties, batting only .242.
Peer Comparison: Interesting to note that MLB.com and Fox Sports both value the veteran Aramis Ramirez more than Longoria. By the numbers, this makes total sense.
Ramirez 97R 27 HR 111 RBI .289 AVG .898 OPS
Longoria 67R 27 HR 85 RBI .272 AVG .874 OPS
Unfortunately for the bargain hunters, the numbers don’t tell the story. Longoria missed action in April because…to be honest I don’t know what the Rays were thinking not bringing him up right away. In any event, he also missed action in August and some of September with a wrist injury. If given another 100 at bats, Longoria was on pace to have 33 home runs and drive in 104 runs. Given that his power got better during the season as a young player it’s reasonable to think he will do even better than 33 home runs and 104 RBI.
Lineup Outlook: There is a possibility that B.J. Upton will miss Opening Day, but it doesn’t appear that shoulder surgery will have a lingering effect on his performance. Maddon talked about hitting Upton and Carl Crawford 1-2 earlier this month, which would leave Longoria and Carlos Pena hitting third and fourth. Who hits third and who whits fourth will be an important question. Longoria’s value is bumped a little as a number three hitter since he will have more at bats and more opportunities to score runs with Pena and Pat Burrell behind him in the lineup. Pena hit third last season, but Longoria who hit .290 and .307 in two years in the minors, is the better hitter.
What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #5 Third Baseman and #17 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #2 Third Baseman and #22 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #21 Overall; Fox Sports: #4 Third Baseman; ESPN: #2 Third Baseman; Yahoo: #3 Third Baseman and #14 Overall
Projection: Don’t miss him in keeper leagues.
97R 36 HR 110 RBI .279 AVG .925 OPS
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