Evan Longoria: 2012 Disappointment

The competition for biggest disappointment of 2012 is a tough one. Names like Roy Halladay, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Tim Lincecum, and John Axford come to mind. The one who sticks out most to me, and admittedly it may be because I’m a Rays fan, is Evan Longoria.

It certainly wasn’t performance based. Longoria hit .289/.369/.527 in his time this year, the highest OPS of his career. The issue was the amount of time he was actually on the field. You see, thanks to a torn hamstring he played in just 74 games. At the plate he showed no lingering effects from the injury – his .378 wOBA was fourth among third basemen (min. 300PA). His legs were understandably effected as he wasn’t able to run with the speed or aggressiveness we’re used to seeing. He missed out on a few extra bases and runs because of it.

Despite those good results he was still a disappointment. If you draft him early or spend a high percentage of your budget on a player you expect them to play the whole season and Longoria failed to do so. Zach Sanders was kind enough to run the calculations for Longoria separately because he didn’t meet the playing time requirement to be included in the full rankings provided yesterday. Longoria’s worth? -$1 thanks to this provision: “These rankings are meant to reflect a player’s value should he have occupied this spot in your lineup for the entire year. So, a player who missed time due to injury but put up great numbers during his time on the field would be worth less.”

That places him in a group, plus or minus $1, with Kevin Youkilis, Jeff Keppinger and Chris Nelson. That’s not what owners envisioned on draft day.

At the start of last season it did look like Longoria was going to be a world beater, hitting .329/.433/.561 in April. He struggled upon his return in August with an OPS of just .719 but returned to form in September and October with a .953 OPS and eight home runs. His good plate discipline has a lot to do with that. Despite his O-Swing% rising each of the last four years it’s still well under league average, though interestingly enough his Swing% has dropped each year as well. Even with the missed time Longoria ranks third in home runs, second in RBI and eighth in runs scored for third basemen from 2008-2012.

He should report to spring training fully healed. He was fully healed and in the “best shape of his life” at the beginning of last season as well after missing a month with an oblique injury. He still played in 133 games in 2011, but this is now two seasons in a row where he’s missed significant time. That may creep into the mind of a fantasy owner come draft day and could be something you can take advantage of at a discount. If he can stay on the field there’s no reason he can’t put up a full season of the numbers we saw this year.

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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

9 Responses to “Evan Longoria: 2012 Disappointment”

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  1. Ian says:

    If you’re going to play the injury card, Tulo was a way bigger disappointment than Longoria, based on both average draft position and final numbers.

    Pure performance, it has to be Lincecum. Sure, there were some warning signs that he may not be elite in 2012, but he was one of the worst pitchers in the league, pitching 186 innings.

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    • derp says:

      Tim WAS the worst pitcher in his league, all the other pitchers close to his performance were in the AL..Joe Blanton is a distant second.

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  2. Rudy Gamble says:

    I think Ellsbury and Tulowitzki have Longoria beat for biggest disappointment based on your criteria. Longoria at least delivered a solid 1/2 season whereas Tulo delivered only 1/3 of a season and Ellsbury under-delivered in his 1/2 season (4 HR, 14 SB).

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    • NBH says:

      Agree with Rudy – Ells and Tulo were much worse than Longoria. So was Lincecum – he not only cost a high draft pick, but he destroyed ratios. Longoria provided a great half season and there were some interesting waiver wire 3B options to use when Longoria went down (e.g. Seager). Longoria/Seager for the full season was a solid combo (although obviously nobody drafts someone in R2 expecting only 50% of the season).

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  3. Brett Gardner says:

    Hey, was someone here looking for me?

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  4. Bill says:

    He has issues, and I’m a Ray fan. the assault rifle thing really got hidden under the sheets, and he’s had issues mouthing off before. If he does play a full season and I was the Rays, I’d be looking to trade him for a king’s ransom, great contract or no. That great contract may actually get you more. Sell high.

    as far as drafting him next year, it’s like a box of chocolates. I wouldn’t be too enthused about taking him in the top two rounds due to injury/attitude issues, but if he slipped to the 3rd I’d take him. Unlikely though.

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  5. Jesse says:

    It’s because your a Rays fan, stop fixating!

    Longoria wasn’t even close to the biggest disappointment, wtf

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