SF Giants third baseman Evan Longoria blasted his 12th home run of the season in Tuesday's 3-1 victory against the Detroit Tigers. If the season was to end today, it would be his lowest home run output in a 162-game season. Oddly enough, he has never launched the ball over the fence at as high of a rate.
SF Giants third baseman Evan Longoria's bat louder than ever
This is not something you would expect to see from a player in his age-36 season, but it is true. The longtime third baseman has blasted 329 home runs in a career that will likely result in a handful of Hall of Fame votes.
Longoria's career will be defined by remarkably consistent power, a premium glove, and good durability earlier in his career. That last detail has not been as prevalent since the Giants traded for him after the 2017 season.
The right-handed bat has missed substantial time with San Francisco. Some of that is due to freak injury whether it be getting hit by a pitch on the hand or running into shortstop Brandon Crawford while trying to field a ground ball.
This season has been no different. Longoria has spent three, separate stints on the injured list. The most notable was at the beginning of the season when he spent five weeks on the shelf after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament.
When he has been healthy, Longoria has been quite productive at the plate. He is slashing .264/.343/.505 (131 OPS+) with 12 home runs, 28 RBI, and 27 runs in 207 plate appearances. This includes a 10.8 percent walk rate against a 25.1 percent strikeout rate.
Throughout his career, has been both a patient hitter and an aggressive hitter. When he is patient, this is typically a result of better swing decisions that translate to better overall performance. The 15-year veteran has posted a 27.5 percent chase rate, so he is not expanding the strike zone at too high of a frequency. For comparison, the Giants have the third-best chase rate in baseball at 29.4 percent.
Better swing decisions have led to more power for Longoria. the veteran slugger has recorded one home run per 15.1 at-bats in 2022. His career mark is one home run per 21.31 at-bats with a previous career-high of one home run per 15.58 at-bats.
In his 15th season, Longoria is hitting home runs at a higher rate than he ever has before. This is not something that you typically observe from a player who is closer to 40 than he is 30.
The Giants hold a $13 million team option for 2023 with a $5 million buyout. Perhaps, the power output is reason to believe that Longoria still has plenty left in the tank. He can still help a team win but it is mildly surprising to see him hit with so much power given the injury woes and where he is at in his career.