With the recent explosion of top-shelf talent to come out of the third base position the last two years, older veteran players who are still productive have become some of the better values in fantasy baseball. This was the setup going into 2016 when it came to Tampa Bay Rays veteran Evan Longoria who at the age of 30 was not old but also was no longer the hotshot youngster that he was a few seasons prior. In fact Longoria was once as hyped as Kris Bryant or Manny Machado as a slugging third baseman who also could steal some bases. Unfortunately Longoria was always a bit overrated as he graduated into as high as a first round pick at times in his past despite numbers that were very good but contained some flaws such as a batting average that hovered at .280 or below and also for the fact his steals eroded almost completely just a few seasons into his career. As a result, Longoria became a guy that fell through the draft cracks as a "boring" veteran who many overlooked in search of the youngster with more flash. Two mediocre seasons in 2014 and 2015 cemented this status further. Alas what happened in 2016 could only be described as a pleasant surprise when it came to Longoria and in the process, he re-established himself as a prime top 10-12 fantasy baseball third baseman.
Before we go further, let's look at Longoria's production from last year:
What clearly stands out are the home runs and RBI as the 36 long balls Longoria collected were a career-best. Longoria added 15 homers from 2015 and his advanced numbers supported the growth as he hit for more hard contact then ever before, while lowering his ground ball rate, and upping the fly ball number. More hard contact and more fly balls obviously mean more home runs and at the age of 31, Longoria is still in his prime which means he should be able to hold onto his baseline numbers in 2017. Yes Longoria still has a hacking approach that leads to a lot of strikeouts and he doesn't run in the least anymore either but overall the guy still is a fearsome presence at the dish who can be a nice and affordable help to your team this season.
So when everyone else in your league is chasing the Josh Donaldsons, Nolan Arenados, and Manny Machados of the world (no one would blame them), if you miss out on those monsters there will be Longoria waiting for you later on to supply nice value. While Longoria is clearly not as exciting a player to own as he was when he was 26, there is still a lot to offer in terms of numbers this season.
2017 PROJECTION: .275 33 HR 99 RBI 86 R 2 SB