In just three years Evan Longoria has established himself as one of the elite players in fantasy baseball. In his rookie season, on his way to Rookie of the Year, he slugged 27 homers with a descent average and good production in other fantasy categories despite only playing in 122 games. He followed that up with a strong sophomore campaign in which he increased his totals in all 5 of the major hitting categories. Although he had a great second season, there was reason to believe that he would perform even better in his third year. In 2009, he struggled with consistency and it was easy to imagine that, if he could minimize the length of his slumps, he could excel even further.
In 2010, we saw Longo improve on his consistency and he also set a career best in steals and average. However, he also saw his homerun, rbi and run totals drop. After slugging 33 homers in his second year, most of us expected him to approach 40 last year. Instead, he actually hit 5 less than he did in his rookie season. However, the decrease in power did have some advantages for his game. He saw his strike out total drop by 16 and his average rise by 13 points. While you could call last year’s totals a let down, I would actually argue that our expectations were just a little bit too high. It is easy to forget that, at age 25, he is still learning.
Heading into 2011, Longo sits at number 5 on my keeper rankings and first at third base. He is on a short list of players with the potential to take Albert Pujols place atop overall keeper rankings as Pujols advances in age. Although his power numbers did fall off last year, I don’t think there is any reason to believe that is going to be a continued issue. The 40 homerun ability is still there and if he can continue to increase his contact rate it is realistic to add in a future 300 hitter. He is a line drive hitter, so his BABIP will always be high. We are still probably a year or two away from seeing the best of Longoria but I would think it is safe to say that we will see him continue to improve as a hitter.
2011 projection: 587 abs, 296 avg, 34 hrs, 108 rbi, 13 sbs, 102 runs