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Evan Longoria Slumping? The MVP Candidate Shows Signs Of Being Human

Can you really say a player hitting .329/.389/.640/1.029 with 11 home runs, 47 RBI and 18 doubles in his first 42 games is slumping? Not really, but lately Evan Longoria has been less Longlorious.  For most mortals this is still very good, but for Evan, he has experienced a little downward slide recently. Look, nobody is complaining about Longoria by a long shot, but the early season MVP favorite has cooled a bit. What we are seeing is more of regression to the mean more than a true slump.

On May 9th, Longoria was hitting .367/.415/.767/1.181 with 11 home runs, 44 RBI and 15 doubles with a strikeout once every 4.13 at-bats. Over the last 12 games, he is hitting just .227/.320/.295/.615 with no home runs, three RBI, three doubles. He is striking out once every 3.6 at-bats and has walked just six times in his last 44 plate appearances. Oh my god, the man is human after all.

There was no way Longoria was going to sustain a batting average near .400, and even now with a batting average around .330 he is still a experiencing a bit of luck. His BABIP is .384 which is nearly 70 points higher than his 2008 campaign. While that will continue to regress, Longoria's BA should settle around the .280 area. That is still very good considering he is on pace to hit over 40 home runs and nearly 70 doubles.

What is in need of improvement is his plate discipline. Again, Longoria is not going to be a .300 hitter, because he strikes out a lot. He's striking out 25% of the time in 2009, and that is actually down from 27.2% in 2008. He is walking a bit more in 2009 (9.4%) compared to 2008 (9.3%), but really should be walking a lot more like the man behind him, Carlos Pena.

Longo's O-Swing is hovering around the 30% mark this year while his O-Contact % is down. This means he's swinging at more pitches out of the zone, but making less contact. He is swinging and missing completely 26.7% of the time, again slightly worse than his 2008 total. With a batting average that is due to regress even more in the next few weeks, it is vital that he continues to get on base and he's going to need to do that via the base on balls.

Once more, it's really hard to complain about arguably the games best player, but if he's going to try and live up to that title he's going to have to adjust and adapt as the pitchers and defense's around him do the same. The best part about this whole scenario is I know that Evan Longoria understands this, and I'm sure he'll make the necessary adjustments to maintain his MVP pace. For now we'll just have to live with him just leading the league in doubles and RBI and playing the best defensive third base south of Washington D.C.; Poor us.

(H/T to Fangraphs and Stat Corner for the numbers)