Are Owners Overrating Evan Longoria?

According to The Fantasy Baseball Price Guide over at Last Player Picked, Evan Longoria put up a $10 value in a standard 12-team mixed league last year in his rookie season. That tied him with Troy Glaus for the 12th-most-valuable third baseman in fantasy in 2008. This year, Longoria is the pre-season consensus as the third-best pick among third basemen, trailing only Alex Rodriguez and David Wright. He has an ADP of 19 according to the latest update over at Mock Draft Central.

Are we getting ahead of ourselves in anointing Longoria as a fantasy stud?

Longoria’s ISO of .259 was the 10th-highest mark in the majors last year. It was also significantly above what he did in either Double-A or Triple-A. Longoria’s slugging was helped by a 19.4 percent HR/FB rate, the 13th-best mark in MLB. Can he keep these two marks that high in his sophomore season, especially given his 27.2 percent K%, the 12th-highest in baseball?

And even if the power is real, how confident are you that he can improve upon last year’s .272 average? That came with a .318 BABIP.

The projection systems are typically unreliable with young players. Understanding that caveat, let’s use the Bill James one, since that has the most optimistic line for Longoria. That has him putting up these numbers:

.280-37-116-102-9

Last year, Adrian Gonzalez put up this line and was the 30th-best hitter in fantasy.

.279-36-119-103-0

Now, obviously the SB difference should not be ignored, nor should the difference in position from Gonzalez at 1B and Longoria at 3B. But at least some of those differences are canceled out by adding pitchers into the equation. Eight pitchers last year had a dollar value greater than or equal to the $22 figure posted by Gonzalez.

Do the net differences cancel out 19 spots in draft order?

It is fun to have young superstars on your team and Longoria certainly fits the bill. But ask yourself if you want to overdraft him by one-to-two rounds in order to have him on your squad. Because that is the current premium that owners are placing on him over his most optimistic projection.




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26 Responses to “Are Owners Overrating Evan Longoria?”

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  1. Paul says:

    I’ve been taking him in the second round mainly because he’s the last 3b I’m optimistic about. Chipper gets hurt too much, I doubt Atkins is in Colorado the whole season, Aramis has a lot of variation year to year and is also an injury risk, and I’m not entirely sure what to expect from Youkilis or Chris Davis.

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  2. EricG says:

    I don’t see the downside of Atkins, especially with how far he’s dropping in drafts. A lot of projections see him hitting in the low 20s range for homers, which isn’t the ideal 3rd baseman, but he’s a solid bet for 100+ RBIs and he’ll put up a .280-.290 BA. Last year wasn’t great for him (his BB rate dropped, as did his ISO and HR/FB) but he could definitely improve to higher numbers like he put up in ’06 or ’07.

    To me, that’s real upside. I’d rather take a player with more experience and a solid track record who could improve after a bad year later in a draft than rush in on a 2nd year player who’s due for a regression.

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  3. Jesus says:

    You are a joke Mr. Joura. Evan Almighty will be the top performing 3B this year. Jesus sees.

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  4. Bodhizefa says:

    I think the odds are 50/50 at this point that Chris Davis outearns Evan Longoria outright this year. I would certainly not pay the difference between the two for Longoria. There’s definite value to be found in Atkins or Davis this year over the exaggerated and inflated prices of Longoria.

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    • Jim says:

      I would much prefer Chris Davis, because he is being had for much cheaper, but I think Longoria’s draft position is warranted. Let’s say you don’t draft one of those top 3B’s and you miss Chris Davis. What options are you left with?

      Kevin Youkilis: He will give you a good average, but probably ~20 homeruns, 85 RBI and a good number of runs. That’s good, but when your competitor is cashing in on a 35-120 campaign from Longoria and Ricky Nolasco is doing just as well for him as Jake Peavy is doing for you, I would question the advice that you got to stay away from Longoria with your 19th pick.

      Garrett Atkins: 3 straight years of decline isn’t a good sign, and with Holliday gone he is no longer a lock for 100 RBI.

      Chipper Jones: He will produce for you in the 105 games that he plays, but is the waiver wire guy you have to plug in for the other 55 going to cut it?

      Aubrey Huff: He is a wild card, but a breakout season at the age of 32 from a long-gone slugger instills a little bit less confidence in me than a breakout season from a top prospect at the age of 22.

      I don’t think I need to keep doing this, hopefully you see my point.

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  5. Jim says:

    A few things:

    “Longoria’s ISO of .259 was the 10th-highest mark in the majors last year. It was also significantly above what he did in either Double-A or Triple-A”

    I can’t believe you would use Longoria’s minor league stats to say he may regress next year. Really? The guy that scouts have been talking about for ages as the next top 3rd baseman? If we used minor league stats alone to judge a prospect’s true talent, then Andrew Mccutchen and Dexter Fowler would be nothing more than younger versions of Fred Lewis. Longoria was 22 last year, so why would you think that we had already seen his best numbers in the minors, when for much of his minor league career he wasn’t even old enough to drink?

    “Longoria’s slugging was helped by a 19.4 percent HR/FB rate, the 13th-best mark in MLB”

    First of all, you are just showing how damn good of a hitter he is with these numbers! Second of all, his slugging wasn’t “helped” by the HR/FB rate, his HR/FB rate was probably helped by the immense power that his bat possesses. Plenty of great power hitters maintain HR/FB rates of 20%, and that makes sense because the fly balls they hit are going to go farther on average than the fly balls hit by a player with less power.

    “And even if the power is real, how confident are you that he can improve upon last year’s .272 average? That came with a .318 BABIP.”

    Maybe his BABIP was .318. What does that mean? I thought the days of assuming that everyone should have a .300 BABIP were long gone. What was his xBABIP?

    “Now, obviously the SB difference should not be ignored, nor should the difference in position from Gonzalez at 1B and Longoria at 3B. But at least some of those differences are canceled out by adding pitchers into the equation. Eight pitchers last year had a dollar value greater than or equal to the $22 figure posted by Gonzalez.

    Do the net differences cancel out 19 spots in draft order?”

    Dollar value is a piece of crap. It takes the stats of a player in a vacuum without looking at the depth of a position or how that player can be used with other players to make a team. There are craploads of good pitchers who can be had outside the top 30 players, but the 3rd base position is very shallow this year. That makes Gonzalez the 22nd most valuable bat, and therefore player last year. If you take into account the steals and positional value, Longoria is going right where he should be. I waited in one draft his year to draft a 3rd baseman, and I wound up with Alex Gordon. He’s not bad, but there is no comparison between the top 4 3rd basemen (Arod, Wright, Aramis Ramirez and Longoria and possibly Chris Davis) and the rest of the pack. I don’t think you can make a bigger mistake to go for a first baseman or an outfielder or a pitcher in the second round if Longoria is still on the board, because outfield is very deep right now, pitching is always deep, and you have a good 9 first basemen before the first real talent dropoff occurs, and about 4 3rd baseman before you’re left with second tier talent.

    Yes, it is “fun” to have an all-star 3rd baseman on your team when all but 3 or 4 other teams will be floundering with a Kevin Youkilis who isn’t repeating his career year or another 20 hr season from Garrett Atkins.

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  6. Jim says:

    Edit: I read “30th best player in fantasy”. But my last argument still stands that a top-tier 3rd baseman should be drafted much higher than a 1st baseman who will put up the same numbers, because there are about half as many top 3rd basemen as there are 1st basemen.

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  7. EDUB says:

    I like your argument but most dollar values are assigned assuming a 260 dollar budget. You just have to make sure of the league parameters (5×5 or 4×4, nl/al only or mixed) to use them In their proper context. Any good values are not created in a vacuum.

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  8. EDUB says:

    I like your argument but most dollar values are assigned assuming a 260 dollar budget. You just have to make sure of the league parameters (5×5 or 4×4, nl/al only or mixed) to use them In their proper context. Any good value system worth using is not created in a vacuum.

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  9. EDUB says:

    I like your argument but most dollar values are assigned assuming a 260 dollar budget. You just have to make sure of the league parameters (5×5 or 4×4, nl/al only or mixed) to use them In their proper context. Any value system worth using is not created in a vacuum.

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  10. EDUB says:

    Sorry for the triple post. I thought I was editing my original.

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  11. Jay in BMore says:

    One of the difficult things about messageboards, can’t tell if someone is really an a&&hole or just comes off like one. Guess I’m not ready to place Longoria in the same class as Mike Schmidt just yet, seems like some of you guys want to accede a free pass to the HOF. Based on what exactly? A great 2/3 of a season. Really?

    Take a closer look at those second half stats and tell me if it doesn’t look like the league was starting to refine the “book” on Sir Evan. Lose his 3 HR game vs the Twins’ stellar trio of Perkins, Humber and Morecky and then what do you have? Well, you have a .255/.325/.372 line with 8 HR and 1 SB. 2nd round round draft choice in a mixed league? Nah, give me something more predictably worthy for that investment.

    “It was the injury” you say, “he’s way better than that.” Well then, a player who has been injured in 100% of his MLB seasons and you want me to place what value on this coming season for that player? Forget it man, too much Longoria Kool Aid in your system for reason to prevail. Position scarcity alone cannot account for that hyperinflation.

    I’m not saying there’s 0% chance Longoria hits 35 bombs this year, but it’s really all about the expected value on draft day for fantasy players. Unless you’re in a long term keeper league, paying second round value for the LIKELY 2009 production from Longoria is ridiculous. People that make that type of choice will hit on a player from time to time, and may hit on enough in any given year to win. But I guarantee that if you played in a money league with me for at least three years, I’m coming out in the black.

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  12. Jim says:

    I have never been a huge Longoria fan, but you can’t deny his talent. Scouts have been talking about him forever, and he hit that well as a 22 year old. He isn’t the type of player who succeeded because the league wasn unfamiliar with him. As the league makes adjustments to him, he will make adjustments to the league. It was a long year for him, too, so I wouldn’t put a lot of weight on his second half dropoff.

    Sorry if I came across as an asshole, I didn’t mean to. I post here all the time, so I hope everyone doesn’t think I’m an asshole haha.

    This analysis just seemed to me like a case of looking at a few stats and ignoring the other 70% of the story.

    None of the arguments used to say that he wouldn’t improve this year were even mildly convincing, except for maybe the high K rate. I went into more detail as to why in my first post. Can you explain why you disagree? Do you really think the argument in this article is sound?

    Also, the argument for his draft place being too high is equally unconvincing. Should a 3rd baseman and a 1st baseman with similar stats be drafted in the same place? No. Add the value of the 10 or so steals that Longoria can contribute, and he should be drafted quite a few places ahead of the first baseman. Longoria’s very realisic upside this season comes in above Wright in the HR/RBI categories and probably only 5 or so stolen bases below Wright’s production. I don’t know how else to put this, but you have to get your nose out of the stats and just watch the guy hit. Then you will see what I am talking about.

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  13. Brian Joura says:

    Longoria 2008 stats – .272-27-85-67-7
    Projected 2009 stats – .280-37-116-102-9

    That is a huge across the board increase and you are acting like I think he’s a bum!

    Go ahead and draft Longoria in the second round. And then come back in October and tell me how it worked out.

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  14. Jim says:

    I’ve already had my drafts this year, and I didn’t take Longoria, but I’m saying I didn’t blame the people who did.

    I am not saying I think he is a lock to hit 37 homeruns, but you have to remember that he only had 448 at bats last season, so over a full season it’s not as massive of an increase as it looks like. The Bill James projection actually has his ISO going down.

    Even if he hits 32 homeruns and 110 RBI’s, I would take him that early. But then again I am in all keeper leagues, so maybe that’s where my head is right now. Even so, I think it is worth it to take Longoria with an early, non-first round pick becuase the dropoff after him at the 3B position is pretty pronounced. Even Aram has failed to eclipse 27 hr the past 2 seasons. I decided to go for Chris Davis this year because there isn’t quite the mainstream hype surrounding him so I got him much lower, but if he wasn’t around I would definitely go for Longoria. I don’t always have the most orthodox drafting strategy, but it seems to work out for me. And no, I don’t just play in public leagues where I’m the only one managing my team by August. I am all for building a competetive team the way you want without necessarily looking at the rankings. I’ve said this before on here, but last year I took Ryan Howard with the second overall pick of my keeper league. Call me crazy, stupid, or bad at fantasy baseball, but I finished second place by quite a sizeable margin and it was an ultra-competetive 20 team proboards league with owners hand selected by a fantasy baseball veteran. The eventual champion proposed me a trade late in the season, which, had I accepted, I probably would have won. I’m not trying to puff my chest out, although it may come across that way (I tend to make bad impressions over the internet I guess), I’m just saying that you don’t necessarily have to follow the exact rankings to succeed. Obviously I wouldn’t still take Howard with the 2nd overall pick in new drafts, but I still think I made the right decision at the time. Just a little funny fact, I got laughed at just as much for taking Kinsler in the 3rd as I did for taking Howard with that high of a pick. I doubt anyone cares about any of that, but oh well. I think at least some of it relates to my point.

    I think it would be really fun (honestly) to be in a league with the fantasy bloggers on this site.

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    • Jay in BMore says:

      The following quotes merit additional explanation:
      “but you have to remember that he only had 448 at bats last season”
      “It was a long year for him, too, so I wouldn’t put a lot of weight on his second half dropoff.”

      Contradictory perhaps?

      Especially considering that the lost ABs resulted from the approx mid-season injury rather than the Rays’ initial plan for additional AAA (non-arb clock ticking) time, I think the “long year” explanation fails. But even should said argument appear weighty to some folks, what’s to be said for the upcoming season? Should we expect that suddenly 2009 won’t be such a long year? If so, why? The shortened ’08 surely hasn’t conditioned him for a more extensive ’09 and his performance in the playoffs doesn’t instill much confidence for a breakout ’09 – overall OK #’s but again, a one-game explosion skews the stats tremendously.

      I have seen Longo play and agree that he is a plus talent that I would wholeheartedly welcome on the Os roster. But this is the fantasy analysis portion of RotoGraphs and a second round pick in mixed leagues needs to provide more confidence in their expected output for me. Best of luck, no hard feelings and appreciated on the more cordial reply :)

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      • Jim says:

        A first season in the MLB is tough….No, this season wasn’t full-length, but you can’t deny that he is probably ready to increase his at bat count over last year. Plus, if it was an injury that brought down his numbers, that gives one even more reason to believe he will be able to maintain production and rack up more at-bats if healthy. I think it is a little misleading to say he has been injured in 100% of his major league seasons….the obvious reason being that he has only played one. None of us knows what’s actually going to happen though, so I think I will stop arguing the point

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  15. Jim says:

    This could have been the entirety of my post: I guess I wasted a lot of commenting space.

    If you extend Longoria’s 2008 numbers to 599 at bats (The number used in the Bill James projection):

    36 homeruns and 113.6 RBI

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  16. Clayton says:

    Does Brian Joura get paid to write for this website?

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    • Jim says:

      I remember seeing the ad looking for writers for this fantasy blog, and it said that it was a paid position. So I’m assuming so.

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  17. Brian Joura says:

    The following question was recently posed at a fantasy roundtable:

    Name the player who is the worst value for his average draft position, within the first three rounds.

    Brett Greenfield, Fantasy Phenoms

    The player who is the worst value for his ADP, within the first three rounds is Evan Longoria. There is no doubt that he has immense potential, but with your second round pick there is way too much risk involved. He batted .272 last year and stole seven bases. During his minor league career of two seasons, he stole a total of eight bases. This guy is not a steals threat. His low AVG is mainly attributed to 122 strikeouts in less than 500 AB. He should get 600 AB this year if healthy and is looking like he’ll strike out roughly 165 times. I don’t see him being a major contributor in two fantasy categories, which are steals and AVG. Does anyone really think he hits 40+ HR?

    Let’s not forget about Ryan Braun, who two years ago smacked 34 HR in 450 AB. He went on to hit 37 in 611 AB during his first full season. Simply doubling someone’s stats during their first time around the league doesn’t work.

    http://www.rotoauthority.com/2009/02/roundtable-wors.html

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  18. Jim says:

    Is anyone here saying that he is going to hit 40+ homeruns? Uh, no. 30+ is more like it.

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  19. Jim says:

    Does a 3rd baseman have to hit 40+ runs to be a borderline second round pick? If so, Ryan Howard would be the only guy who should be taken in the first 2 rounds.

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  20. LeiterMilnerFasterStronger says:

    A 3rd baseman doesn’t have to hit 40 home runs to be a borderline second round pick… if he’s a plus-contributor accross the board.

    Assuming the James numbers are correct, he’s putting up Aramis Ramirez numbers (not AR peak numbers, but something on par with, if not a little below, the last 3 years’ 600-AB mean), right down to the solid BA/marginal-steals numbers. If you’re playing 5×5, he’ll NEED to be plus-plus in the other three columns in order to be worth a top 20-25 pick (40 HRs/110-120 RBI, eg). At this point, year-to-year, he isn’t. Guys like Berkman or Soriano (or Ramirez himself) are better value there.

    (If you’re playing in a league that uses OBP instead, you’re even worse off making him a top-2/-3 pick.)

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  21. Jim says:

    Epic Fail. Admit it Brian, you were wrong :)

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  22. Josh says:

    Seriously epic…he’s almost halfway to his RBI projections – about a month into the season. The kid can mash.

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