by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Many were skeptical about the rumors, but last week the Tampa Bay Rays traded their franchise player as they sent Evan Longoria to San Francisco for a package headlined by Christian Arroyo. Of course getting a potentially impact prospect for a player who may never be able to post impressive numbers and has a hefty contract is never a bad thing. The question is if Longoria truly is just a name with little value at this stage of his career. Looking at last year’s numbers, it’s easy to draw that conclusion:
613 At Bats
.261 Batting Average (160 Hits)
20 Home Runs
6 Stolen Bases
.313 On Base Percentage
.424 Slugging Percentage
.282 Batting Average on Balls in Play
While he hit 36 HR in 2016, that appears to be the aberration. He’s hit 22 HR or fewer in three of the past four seasons, and when you look at the HR/FB it’s obvious:
- 2014 – 10.8%
- 2015 – 10.8%
- 2016 – 15.5%
- 2017 – 10.5%
Heading into 2018 we now add the complication of his new home ballpark. It’s not that Tropicana Field was a favorable park, though it yielded 2.44 HR/game last season. AT&T Park, on the other hand, was by far the worst hitters park in the league with 1.46 HR/game. Sure Longoria may be able to take advantage of a few games in Coors Field, but overall the power outlook has got to take a hit.
Considering the last time he hit above .273 was in 2012 and the fact that a drop in his power will have a negative impact there as well, we are suddenly looking at a player who could see his average drop to .250 or worse.
It’s also not like Longoria offers much in the way of speed, and he is going to be playing in a lineup that doesn’t offer explosiveness. Yes he’ll be joining Buster Posey and Brandon Belt in the middle of the lineup, but let’s not confuse them with some of the elite sluggers in the game. Runs and RBI are going to be tough to come by, and eclipsing 85 in either category would be surprising.
So, when you put it all together you get:
- Limited power moving to an unfriendly ballpark
- A pedestrian AVG that could get worse
- Little upside in R/RBI
If he had stayed in Tampa Bay the outlook would be slightly better, but as things stand now he’s all smoke and little fire. Let someone else make the investment.
Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: