Fantasy Baseball: The Underrated Evan Longoria

Evan Longoria

When I put together my initial rankings I try and do it solely using my projections and my thoughts. Only once I have the basis of my rankings do I look at how the industry in general values players to see if I am valuing them similarly. If I see major discrepancies I will re-evaluate that player and look to see if I am missing something before putting my final ranking together. Often this ends up with a minor adjustment either way for the player based on something that my projection model didn’t take into account, normally this is for short sample size players where they are adjusted after reviewing minor league numbers.

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Well this season my biggest discrepancy was how I ranked Evan Longoria at third base. My projections have Longoria as a top 10 player at the position whilst on fantasypros the consensus is 18th overall among players ranked at third base using ESPN’s eligibility and the highest individual rank is said to be 16th. Longoria did show signs of ageing last season and then to top it off he got traded to one of the worst hitters parks in baseball and to a team that was frankly awful last year so it is no wonder that his fantasy value has taken a hit.

However, when I look at Longoria in more detail the lowest I can put him is 12th at the position and so I really think the industry wide downgrade has simply gone overboard. Over the past five seasons Longoria has missed a combined 12 games and has amassed 670 or more plate appearances in each of those years so I feel fairly confident projecting him for a minimum of 150 games. That projection alone makes him a minimum of top 15 at the position for me given that 20 home runs and a 0.260 batting average feel like the minimum he will return. Yes the park is bad but he wasn’t exactly in a good park before and yes the team isn’t amazing but the Giants have made improvements from last year and it definitely isn’t any worse than the team he played with last year.

Evan Longoria

Santiago Mejia – The Chronicle

I am all for shooting for upside especially in the roto format but the thing is that Longoria still a ton of upside. He is hitting in a line-up full of veteran savvy players and many of whom have made their careers with small ball methods either on San Francisco or similar type teams so runs and RBI shouldn’t be a major problem. My feeling is that this team is going to focus on getting on base and for Longoria hitting fourth I think that can lead to perhaps 180 combined runs and RBI and potentially if this team clicks and rolls back the years a little he could go higher still. Power wise he is just one year removed from a 30 home run season, having previously done  it in 2013 as well, meaning that a power spike is not an impossibility for him.

Finally last year he cut his strikeout rate but also had the lowest BABIP of the last five years which meant the reduced strikeouts didn’t show in the average. Some of that may have been due to an increase in ground ball percentage last year but there is no clear reason why he suddenly hit 4% more ground balls than he has ever hit in his career. Last year he was surrounded by power in Souza and Dickerson and so the ground ball rate may have been a genuine attempt to get on base more and let them guys drive him home and this year he doesn’t have that and I think we see that FB/GB ratio evening up at around 1:1 like it was previously in his career.

Just to reiterate that this is from the consensus rankings and not ADP as the major sites of CBS, Yahoo and ESPN are not on the fantasypros ADP yet. Therefore, we will have to see what happens to him in real drafts but my indication from mocks I have done is that you can get him right around 15th overall at the position which equates to the mid to late rounds in 10/12 team leagues. Finally I wanted to end with my projections so you can see the full process on Longoria and the numbers that I feel make him a top 10 third baseman this year: 170 combined runs and RBI, 23 home runs, three steals and a 0.270 batting average.

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