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SF Giants: Five bold predictions for the 2021 season

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Evan Longoria #10 of the San Francisco Giants bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 19, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Giants 6-0. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Evan Longoria #10 of the San Francisco Giants bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 19, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Giants 6-0. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Evan Longoria
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 27: Evan Longoria #10 of the SF Giants at-bat against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

SF Giants: 5 bold predictions for the 2021 season
5. Evan Longoria has an OPS above .800

I have been all-in on Evan Longoria for some time now. Since he began consistently hitting the ball hard last season, I’ve argued he’s been playing on par with his peak years in Tampa Bay. A cursory look at Longoria’s recent statistics might make that seem absurd, but the underlying statistics suggest he’s been one of the unluckiest hitters in MLB.

Last season Yastrzemski posted a weighted on-base average (wOBA), a statistic that evaluates a player’s hitting production, of .407, nearly 100 points higher than Longoria’s .308 mark (.320 is considered league-average). However, Longoria’s expected wOBA, which uses a player’s batted-ball data to estimate their wOBA, was only five points less than Yastrzemski’s (.362 to .367, respectively). While Yaz was undeniably more productive than Longoria in 2020, there’s reason to believe their numbers should have been far more similar.

Longoria has eclipsed a .800 OPS just once in the past seven seasons and has not reached .765 since 2016. If Longo can hit the ball in 2021 like he did last year, he should easily surpass .800 and could push the .850-.900 marks he posted during his best seasons with the Rays from 2008-2012.

Already 35, there’s reason to be concerned about Longoria’s age. Thus far in 2021, though, he’s done everything he can to dispel those fears. This spring, Longoria hit .346/.414/.885, and the Long Beach State alum has already blasted a pair of home runs in the Giants’ first two games of the regular season. Offseason acquisition Tommy La Stella is a strong left-handed bat capable of playing third base. If Kapler manages things well, La Stella should spell Longoria enough to keep him as fresh as possible for the entirety of the season. That would be fantastic news for the Giants lineup.

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Make sure to check back as the SF Giants season continues to see how Marc’s bold predictions pan out.

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