The Tampa Bay Rays have had a lot of ups and downs over the last few years, and with a record of 35-56, 2016 would certainly seem like one of those downs. One thing that the Rays disappointing season has masked is their cornerstone third base superstar Evan Longoria, who has quietly returned to his status as one of the best third baseman in all of baseball.
Throughout the last few seasons, Longoria has slowly faded out of the spotlight as some people believe he has begun his decline; but the numbers clearly tell a different story. It was only three years ago (2013) that Longoria slugged 32 HR, and since then has continued to play well. Longoria has not only played at a top notch level this year, but he is on pace to set a new career high for HR (33 in 2009). Not only is he playing well, but let's not forget that Longoria is only 30 years old, and could still even be considered to still be in his prime years. Third base is dominated by young sluggers putting up huge offensive numbers like Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, and Josh Donaldson, but Longoria has still managed to stick around in the top of the league. Longoria's 21 HR's are tied for third among third baseman, he is 7th in slugging percentage, and 8th in OPS, and third in doubles all while on a sub-par team. Performing at the level that he has is hard enough to begin with, let alone when you have no lineup support around you. Yet not even the final vote was enough to push Longoria to his fourth All-star game. It might take the Rays moving him before the deadline for him to once again get the level of recognition he deserves, but meanwhile he'll just keep raking at a consistent level.