Rays Longoria is Simply……Golden Again

 
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His defensive instincts and cat-like reflexes have more than a few folks around the game of baseball comparing him to the first “human vacuum” and Baseball Hall of Fame member Brooks Robinson. Even more remark how his bat is still young and could develop into am modern day Mike Schmidt at the plate in less than a few years. With such high praise as this surrounding his name, it is no wonder we are celebrating him this afternoon.


For about two minutes ago the official announcement came forth that Tampa Bay Rays Third Baseman Evan Longoria has won his second Rawlings Gold Glove Award in two seasons….and rightfully so. The young Rays corner infielder might just be starting a trend of dominating at the “Hot Corner” for a long, long time.


Amazing how three years ago this same former “Dirtbag” came up after an injury to Willy Aybar and since that moment has been the most solid member of the Rays revamped defensive core. All that while still learning his craft at the plate and beginning to show a level of play much needed within the confines of his small marketplace. Today Longoria doesn’t have to worry anymore about who stole his cap, a fans will rightfully take his own off his head and offer it to the Rays slugger.


It really doesn’t seem like only three years when Longoria posted up just in front of the Field Turf of Tropicana Field for his first professional start against on Saturday, April 12,2008 against the Baltimore Orioles. Ironically Longoria went 1 for 3 during his Major League debut with a RBI. That was the start of the long awaited Longo phenomenon in Tampa Bay. He did not win a Gold Glove in his rookie season, but he did show the signs of brilliance and agility needed that has blossomed over his past two Rays season at the corner.
Evan_FigGiveaway.jpg

In his second season with the Rays in 2009, Longoria only committed 13 errors in 427 total chances and contributed in 43 double play opportunities for the Rays. Remarkably, Longoria has fewer errors in his rookie season (12) but only helped produce 26 double play chances in his 119 games at Third base and one lone start at shortstop for the team. But the firm foundation established by Longoria during his rookie season only helped ferment and illustrate his value to the Rays overall cloak of defense in 2009.

Amazingly in 2010, Longoria hit a career high in errors with 13, but also provided more than a few web gem defensive moment on attempted bunts down the Third Baseline. It became almost trademark in 2010 for Longoria to take a ball barehanded and get the runner with a step or two to spare. His defensive game had elevated itself, and the rest of the baseball world noticed.


In 2010 Longoria set personal highs in innings played (1330.2), putouts (127) and watched his double play number soar even higher (46). I see no stopping or diminishing of Longoria’s defensive abilities for a long time. Longoria might even have a legitimate chance to one day try and match the totals number of Rawlings Gold Gloves by Schmidt (10 ) and Robinson (16)


As the musical group Timbuktu once said in a song lyric “Futures so bright I have to wear shades”. Only problem with that is the image of Longoria behind a pair of mirror shades just hoping you hit it down the line at him so he can rob you of that extra base hit and just give you a smile as you jog back to the bench. I got Longoria to sign a ball for me the day of his MLB debut, and ever since then not only has the ball gained in value, but Longoria’s defensive game has just been…well, Golden.

16 Comments

Peter,
Some say Longoria spent a few weeks in Triple-A because he dsid not sign his contract extensionbefore the end of the Rays Spring Training and was demoted as a signal to think long and hard about it.
No matter what the reason now, he came back to the MLB on a mission and is still plugging away.
As a former Hot Corner guy myself, I like his style and flair on the diamond ans wish him tons of luck and great bounces in his future.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Congrats to Evan, he is definitely the number 1 on the hot corner in the AL and i am sure he’ll be around for a long time, hopefully he stick it out with the Rays…

-peter

Phillies Outside

I would have been shocked if Longoria hadn’t won again. He’s that good. As Peter said, I hope the Rays hold onto him for a long time.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Longo made his first million dollar salary in 2010. The numbers will roll fast towards a number in 2014 that might be beyond the Rays comfort zone.
But since he is establishing himself like Carl Crawford did, the Rays might just hold onto this guy until it is really out of the range to keep him.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Congratulations Longo! I love seeing local boys from Souther California do well!
.
Thanks for voting for me Cliff!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Emma,
It was my pleasure to vote for you.
Longo certainly should be the pride of SoCal.
His star is always rising a bit higher, and it will be exciting to see what he does this year, maybe even getting a possible third Gold Glove.
But with his old target Carlos Pena now gone, it might be a bit harder….But I still think he can beat even those odds.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Longoria was definitely the best choice for 3rd base Golden Glove honors this year, hands down! I love the Golden Glove figure of him in your photo. It’s spot on. If Torii Hunter was Spiderman in his younger days, Evan Longoria is Superman now. The man literally flys when he has to!

http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

I have a feeling the other 3B in the AL are getting used to the idea of not even having a chance at a Gold Glove for the next decade or so. He sure is fun to watch!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Blithe,
The first photo was taken on Opening Day in 2010 when a representative from Rawlings came and presented the Gold Glove to Longoria before the game.
The second was a photo of the prototype of the flying Evan Longoria figurine given out to Rays fans during the middle of the season.
Not sure he is Superman, but so many kids would consider him an action figure just from his New Era commercial.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

CONGRATULATIONS! Evan Longoria is truly awesome. I wish the Cubs had such a player. Hopefully the Rays will keep him around for a long time. It is unfortunate that so many of their best players are leaving. I certainly wish Tampa Bay the best of luck in 2011.

Jeff,
Only 14 more and Longoria will be tied with Brooks Robinson….not sure why, but I have a sinking feeling he has a chance at it.
Seriously, during the World Series some people wondered outloud around me whether the Rays would have done better to draft pitchers’ Brad Lincoln or Brandow Morrow instead of Longoria.
To me personally, you can not always find a corner infielder who you can sign and know will stay here for the duration.
Longo is a Ray until either his contract runs out, or he is traded for a nice bushel of upgrades.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Congrats to Longo. As to the Posey vs Longo debate…huh? I guess the debate was drafting him before college? Longo was drafted in 06, Posey in 08, and yes, the Rays should have drafted Posey over Beckham in 08. Having both Longo and Posey = best of both worlds.

Diehard,
The Rays have Longoria under contract until 2013, then the Rays have club options from 2014-2016.
And his contract until 2013 is pretty team-friendly considering the payroll limitations of the team.
If his offensive and defensive skills even plateau out in 2011, his worth is still superior to his salary.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Oops…didn’t mean to kind off double post thought the first one didn’t go through….sorry.

TBDudette,
I actually meant to say pitchers Brad Lincoln and Brandon Morrow when I mentioned the Rays choice of Longoria instead of either of those pitching options.
Not sure where my mind was, but checked the comment and found my error.
I do not have brain malfunctions like that very often in my comments. Thanks again for your comments.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

TBDudette,
Sometimes the MLBlogs.com site does take a bit of time, or displays an error page when it actually posted to the blog.
Those of us who have been here a while just accept it as a small blemish on an otherwise great blogging community.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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