In 2009, Evan Longoria followed up his Rookie of the Year season with a memorable 33 HRs that led to a Silver Slugger award, and was well on his way to becoming the biggest name in baseball. Well, after missing some time in 2011, last season will have been a severe blow to the third baseman, but after sitting out 13 weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays star is out to prove his doubters wrong in 2013.
After playing a major role in the Rays’ World Series run of 2008, Longoria has been the star of the team, and for good reason. His career 380 runs, 130 homers and 456 RBI are impressive considering his lost season, but it is the extra dimension he brings to the plate that causes pitchers to fear him.
Longoria has the ability to turn a game in a heartbeat. He is more than capable of cracking a good pitch over CF for a home run, and has provided clutch runs on numerous occasions.
Whilst Longoria returned in August of last season, worries over his injury carried through the offseason, but having looked good in Spring Training, those doubts have slowly begun to seep away. However, it is not just the Rays’ spring that will have rejuvenated the two time Gold Glove winner.
On Feb. 20, Evan’s long time girlfriend gave birth to their first child, and if ever an athlete needed some sort of boost to their performance, the honor of fatherhood has often provided a spark that lights a fire brighter than any to have burnt before.
It is easy to forget Longoria’s superb abilities in the midst of talk about a possible recurrence of injury, but with him, the Rays evolve from an outside contender to a team very much in the hunt for another AL pennant.