Longoria's "Slump" Will Not Last Long

I consider it a blessing to have Evan Longoria on the Tampa Bay Rays. He is easily one of the top 10 players in the entire game and when you include contracts he may be the top commodity in the entire game. When we see a player of Longoria's magnitude hitting .234/.347/.438 we want to yell SLUMP! and maybe we are in the right to do so but let's check the rest of the stats first.

Longoria enters play today with a .351 wOBA which ranks 3rd among all third basemen in the American League with at least 70 plate appearances behind Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis. His .234/.347/.438 line isn't looking so bad now. Couple it with a wRC+ of 126 and you see that he is actually well above league average.

Longoria also enters play with a ridiculous +3.4 UZR at third base in only 18 games. When his bat is not adding value, er... as much value as we think it should, he is always adding value with the glove. But, thanks to the stats, we still see that his bat is adding value and Longoria's 0.9 fWAR is 2nd the highest in the American League among players with less than 20 games played.

The reality of the situation is that we are used to seeing Longoria hit .280/.360/.500 or better and we have a hard time swallowing anything below a wRC+ of 130 for him. Yes, Longoria is in a current 3-23 min-slump which has put a damper on his overall line but we have to remember that we are playing with small sample sizes here.

Longoria also is not doing anything outside of his norm. His walk rate of 10.7% is right in line with his career rate of 10.3%. His strikeout rate is 21.9% which is better than his career rate of 24.0% and right in line with his 2010 rate. His line-drive rate is the highest of his career at 22.4% as well. His current line of .234/.347/.438 will not stand. His BABIP sits at .271 which is 48 points below his career total of .319 and although he is hitting less fly balls his ISO is still over .200.

You can call what Longoria is going through this season a slump if it makes you happy. Be my guest. But last time I checked a 126 wRC+ was not a slump especially when he is adding immense value with the glove as well. The fact that we can get a little bent out of shape when a player on our team has a 126 wRC+ and .351 wOBA should be considered a major blessing. Couple that with the fact that those numbers have been victimized, not by a slump, but by the Luck Dragons and we should be talking about the MVP type numbers we will see shortly from Longoria and not gripe about a "slump" when we currently have the third best offensive third baseman in the league and fourth best according to fWAR while only playing half as many games as the three third sackers ahead of him. We should count our blessing because Longo is 'bout to break out in a big way much like Joyce did.

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