Evan LongoriaBen Lindbergh of Grantland wonders what is up with Evan Longoria’s lack of power. You can read the entire column here, but here are the highlights:

  • Longoria’s non-power numbers haven’t changed much while his power numbers are way down the last two years.
  • Specifically, most of Longoria’s power decline has been to center field and right field.
  • He is no longer as disciplined at the plate as he used to be, swinging much more often, including pitches out of the strike zone.
  • There have been some subtle changes to Longoria’s swing which suggest he is not using his lower body to generate power as much as he should be.

The first thing that always comes to mind when thinking about Longo’s power outage are the accumulation of injuries, especially the hamstring injury, combined with an aging body that has played most of its career on turf and that Longo rarely takes a day off unless he is seriously injured.

But on the flip-side, the hamstring injury was in 2012 and Longoria hit 32 home runs in 2013. On top of that, Longoria is still only 29 years old. In other words, he should still be in his prime and not exhibiting the broken down decline usually reserved for players in their mid-30s.

So what’s the answer? We can point to charts and videos and tables until our eyes bleed and none of that means much. A player who is 6-2, 220 pounds and is a proven big league hitter should be hitting more than 8.4% of his flyballs out of the park (in 2013 it was 15.7%). Bad hitters who are smaller than Longoria and have no idea how to use their legs hit more than 15 home runs, the number Longo is on pace to hit this year. That alone tells us that the problem is much more physical than it is mechanical and anything else is just Longo trying to compensate for either a specific ailment or an accumulation of injuries that he has not quite healed from yet.

Some players lose their power and never get it back and that should be worrisome. But at the same time Longo is still a very good hitter and a plus-defender. If that is all he is will be moving forward, the Rays could do a lot worse. But at the same time, as long as he is still a good hitter, there will always be hope that the power will return.

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8 Comments

  1. Starmand says:

    I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it might be mental.

    Trying to do too much as they say in the 'hood.

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  2. Rob says:

    His bat speed is slower for some reason, and he's always had a long swing, which I think exacerbates the slower bat speed. It seems like he has lost some size too - does he look slimmer to anyone else?

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  3. Rob says:

    All I know is that the face of your franchise needs to do something spectacular on offense. If he's only going to be hitting 15 HRs a year, then he needs to hit .320.

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    • Drew S says:

      Or a bunch of doubles like Zobrist when he was routinely hitting .250-.270 but also running ISO's above .200

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  4. Joe B. says:

    Here's a nice Longo stat for you...

    0 for 28 & 15 Ks with an 0 - 2 count.

    Weird.

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  5. Gus says:

    Having watched maybe 1500 Longoria plate appearances since 2008, I don't think he is injured. He has lost some bat speed, so he's early and he never waits and goes opposite field (when it does happen, it seems to be only by accident) and he tries to pull everything. As a consequence he is vulnerable to the slider away. I mean, no chance he can do anything with it so he has to lay off it.

    His decline in 2015 seems to me to be one of aggression -- my guess would be he sees less pitches per AB than anybody else, even though he's the #3 or #4 hitter and does walk and get pitched around some. He's gets behind, he's swinging away and hopes he runs into it.

    The other elephant in the room -- PEDs -- should be mentioned (Blame the MLB union, not me, for letting PEDs distort their sport for way too long so that you have to consider PEDs in any power outage). Maybe his early career power numbers were the anomaly and this is who he is? His fellow Long Beach State teammate and off-season workout partner(?) in the early years (Tulo) has had similar power dip, and he's playing in a much friendlier stadium.

    He's a great player even with no power, but it is a bit of a disappointment to see him and the Rays be so toothless at the plate.

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    • Ken J says:

      Do you think his long term contract has made him more complacent along with other changes in his life such as fatherhood? Longo used to be known as a party animal when he had power

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