A Look At Evan Longoria, Luck & Power

Evan Longoria had a monster start to the season. He started out 2009 looking poised to follow in the tiny footsteps of Dustin Pedroia and follow up his Rookie of the Year season with an American League MVP trophy. In fact that fantastic start is a big reason that Longoria's slash line still looks solid at .267/.352/.499. Since injuring his hamstring in early June, Longoria has not been able to recapture the production he started the season with. Now an OPS of 1.134 is ridiculous, but Longoria has been carried an OPS of less than .750 for the better part of the past three months. His most recent skid has him batting 6th in the lineup at least temporarily.

 

OPS

wOBA

April

1.134

0.475

May

0.937

0.396

June

0.752

0.321

July

0.701

0.296

August

0.721

0.321

A fluctuation in BABIP does explain part of the downward trend, but not all.

 

BABIP

April

0.410

May

0.360

June

0.280

July

0.179

August

0.292

In July his BABIP was awful. And while in June and August his BABIP was a bit "unlucky", it's not that unlucky to explain the prolonged slump.

A decreased BABIP might be partly to blame for a dip in Longoria's ISO.  If the BABIP regression has taken away a few doubles that could explain some things, but not all. Since posting an ISO of .261 in May, Longo has not posted an ISO over .225 in any of the last three months. His career ISO is .245, but just .152 this month.

 

ISO

April

0.345

May

0.261

June

0.178

July

0.222

August

0.152

There doesn't seem to be anything that sticks out in the way Longoria is being pitched and his plate discipline has remained relatively the same if not better. Yet, Longoria is hitting more ground balls (48.1 in last 118 PA) and his HR/FB rate has plummeted from 21.4 in April down to 10.7 in August.

 

HR/FB

April

21.4

May

18.9

June

13

July

13.2

August

10.7

 

After hitting 33 base hits including 13 home runs in his first 218 plate appearances, Longo has 26 extra base hits and 11 home runs in his last 310. Joe Maddon said the recent move down to 6th is to try and help Longoria clear his head a bit and stop pressing. I hate to speculate on it being something else since I don't really know the answer, but one has to wonder whether that hamstring is still bothering Longoria or has caused him to adjust his swing. Defensively, Longoria remains stellar, but without the access to ask Longoria himself, we just don't know what's up with his swing. Hopefully, Maddon is right and Evan is just pressing right now. In good news, he did lace a line drive home run in Sunday's game. With this being make or break week for the Rays, the team really needs Longoria to get back to form and quickly.

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