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Evan Longoria Grand Slams Rays To 6-2 Victory Over Red Sox

For the second straight night the Rays offense was sparked thanks to a bases loaded hit off the bat of Evan Longoria. After a bases clearing double off Josh Beckett on Thursday, Longoria came up in a similar situation in Friday's game. With bases loaded, two-out and the Rays trailing 2-1, he cleared the bases once again, but did one better; he cleared himself as well. "The Keeper" as I will now call him, took advantage of a 92 mph Justin Masterson sinker that did not sink and deposited into the left field seats for his second career grand slam. Carlos Pena would follow up with his major league leading 10th home run. It was the second time this season that Longo and Los have gone back-to-back.

On the season Longoria is hitting .368 with seven home runs and a team leading 1.158 OPS and 28 RBI. After tonight, he has an OPS of 1.181 against right handers and a 1.030 at the Trop. We all knew Longo was a special player, but I don't think even I expected him to hit 34 home runs and put up a .920 OPS in his first 535 at bats.

Longoria is carrying a BABIP of over .400 which unsustainable over the course of the season. This means at some point his batting average should drop, but the power is real. He is maintaining his fly ball percentage from last season( ~41%), and more importantly his home runs per fly ball rate is within five percent of last years rate. If healthy, he should hit 30+ home runs and hit them fairly easily.

Beside the grand slam, he did draw a walk which was another positive. Longo has just nine walks in 97 plate appearances for a walk rate of around 9%. If he could get that to a Carlos Pena like 16% then the league will have an even bigger problem that it does now. As it is, he has blown past the 1 WAR level and is quickly approaching two wins above replacement level in early May. In fact, he leads the majors in WAR lending credence to those MVP...MVP...MVP during Longoria's at-bats at the Trop.  For a player making just $550k in 2009, he has already been worth $8.1 million dollars. That number will only go up this year, and just make Andrew Friedman's unorthodox extension look more genius.