New ballpark name, same offensive struggles for San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria.
San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria showed some concerning home and road splits during the 2018 season, and it looks like that trend is spilling over into 2019.
Longoria is not the first, nor will he be the last, player to struggle with the spacious dimensions and harsh climate that reside at Oracle park. It’s been eating up hitters left and right since the early days of AT&T Park.
In 2018, Longoria had his worst statistical season, hitting just .244 with a .694 OPS that was by far the worst of his career.
However, a deeper dive into the numbers tells a Jekyll and Hyde story.
At Oracle Park, Longoria hit .229 and posted a .615 OPS with just four home runs in 233 plate appearances.
On the road, he posted a much more appealing .757 OPS with 12 home runs in 279 plate appearances. This is probably a better indication of the type of hitter Longoria is at this stage in his career.
Unfortunately, the dramatic home/road splits have continued into 2019. So far, he’s hitting a paltry .158 with a .416 OPS in 39 plate appearances at home.
Even if he were a backup catcher, those numbers would be hard to digest. The fact that he plays a premium offensive position and generally bats in the middle of the lineup makes it even more difficult.
The flip side of that is that he’s once again been productive on the road. He’s hitting .269 with a .828 OPS away from Oracle Park. Those road numbers include plate appearances in either neutral or pitcher-friendly ballparks including Petco Park (Padres), Dodger Stadium (Dodgers), and PNC Park (Pirates).
That’s the type of production the Giants were expecting when the acquired Longoria. They would just prefer it occur both at home and on the road.
He has to find a way to exorcise the demons residing at Oracle Park where he will be playing 81 games a year for the next three seasons, barring a trade.
The necessary adjustments have simply not been made, and Longoria has been a contributor to the Giants’ offensive woes as a result.
At the very least, Longoria still offers value with his glove. The Giants boast one of the best defensive teams in baseball, and Longoria is a big part of that at the hot corner.
Now if he can just figure out the Oracle Park dilemma, he should be able to return to the type of player he was in the latter stages of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays.
That is, a player who can make an impact both offensively and defensively.