San Francisco third baseman Evan Longoria notched four RBIs as the Giants beat the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. The former Ray has long been thought of as an RBI guy, yet Evan Longoria stats 2021 do not show him as a traditionally productive bat.
Evan Longoria Stats 2021
Longoria is 54th among qualified hitters in wRC+. This would be his best year by wRC+ since 2013.
So, the results stats for Longoria in 2021 are pretty impressive. This is a surprise uptick for a player in his age-35 season, a player many thought was done as an above-average hitter. He’s also been typically awesome with the glove at the hot corner, sitting in the 91st percentile in outs above average.
There was a lot of Twitter grumbling on Sunday when Evan Longoria wasn't in the lineup, but Gabe Kapler wanted him to get 48 hours off. He's 3-for-3 tonight, with hits at 108 mph, 108 mph and 104 mph.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 26, 2021
Dive a little deeper, though, and this is more than a cute story. Longoria is absolutely smoking the ball. His 13.4% walk rate is by far a career high. The same goes for his chase rate. Only Aaron Judge has a better average exit velocity. He’s ahead of Nick Castellanos and Jose Abreu in barrel rate.
This is some breakout-level stuff. But instead of being an exciting 24-year-old, this is a player in his mid-thirties with almost 1,800 Major League games under his belt.
A 92nd percentile xwOBA is, again, comfortably a career best. The same goes for his expected slugging and expected batting average.
The key part of Giants fans, though, is that Longoria is getting unlucky. His traditional numbers are not glaring.
That's his 3rd-longest home run tracked by Statcast (since 2015), trailing only:
7/19/16: 462 ft
6/27/15: 451 ft pic.twitter.com/IKTzQuSE19
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 26, 2021
His wOBA is 48 points below expectation. The three-time All-Star is yet to be rewarded for his more disciplined approach and relentless hard contact.
Giants change approach
Longoria’s refined approach at the plate reflects the Giants as a whole. They are working counts. They are among the league leaders in pitches faced. Walks are following; San Francisco is fourth in MLB in walk rate.
It’s easy to see a team like the Giants playing well and assume it’s a fluke. There has been some of that. Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani are not going to be in Cy Young contention all year long. The long season may eventually catch up with these reinvigorated veterans.
In Longoria’s case, though, there is fluke. The misfortune isn’t in his favour at this stage remarkably. It is reasonable to expect an offensive explosion from the three-time Gold Glove winner, and what could easily become a career year.
Longoria is having a good year as it stands. More performances like Wednesday’s are on the way. It’s a fiercely competitive field to be an All-Star at third base in the National League, but Longoria is going to be right in the mix.