We call him The Dirtbag because of how he plays and because he played college ball at Long Beach State whose baseball team has the coolest mascot in sports…The Dirtbags.
The biggest question mark for the Tampa Bay Rays in Spring Training is whether or not Evan Longoria will be named the opening day third baseman. Manager Joe Maddon has repeatedly stated that the decision will be based less on his stats, and more on how the 22-year old handles himself on a day-to-day basis and how well The Dirtbag adjusts to everyday life as a major leaguer. From now until the Rays announce a decision on Longoria’s fate, we will track The Dirtbag’s progress through his numbers, our own observations and quotes from Maddon and Andrew Friedman…
Yesterday at the plate: Evan Longoria went 1-2 with 2 RBI. Longoria came into the game in the 6th, to play third base. In the 7th he struck out swinging for the second out. In the 8th, he hit a 2-out, 2-run home run off of Jeremy Accardo. He handled two groundballs cleanly, one to end the 7th and the other to end the game.
Summary: Willy Aybar was 0-2 with a strike out and a walk. To date, Aybar has 32 plate appearances to Longoria’s 30. Longoria has a spring OPS of 1.217 while Aybar is at .798. Longoria is 2-2 in stolen bases, while Aybar is 0-1. Aybar has a groundball to flyball ratio of 0.24, which means he hits flyballs 3/4 of the time. Longoria has 1:1 ratio of groundballs to flyballs. I am tempted to move The Dirtbag up one notch, but we are going to hold steady for one more day.