I remember at the beginning of the season watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN and hearing some analyst that Cardinals third baseman David Freese had a chance to have an Evan Longoria-esque season in 2012 if he stays healthy. Did Freese make that analyst look smart? The 2011 playoff hero managed a .293/.372/.467 line with 25 doubles, 20 homers, and 79 RBI. That looks pretty darn similar to Longoria’s stats from 2010: a .294/.372/.507 line with 46 doubles, 22 homers, and 104 RBI. Freese’s playoff achievements do certainly surpass Longoria’s Game 162 and playoff heroics for the Rays. But overall, Freese dosen’t come close to Longoria.
Something important to note: Evan Longoria is about to turn 27 on October 7th while Freese will turn 30 next April. Freese is firmly in his prime while Longoria may have not yet reached his peak. Even with that being the case, Longoria certainly has much more power. Freese may be a better hitter for average, but Longoria gets on base more and is certainly a better offensive player than Freese. Freese’s .839 OPS this season was nice. Evan Longoria has managed an OPS better than that every season in the big leagues. Freese is a decent defensive third baseman, managing a 1.2 career UZR. Evan Longoria struggled this season amidst injuries, but every other year he has been incredible, totaling a 53.4 career UZR. There’s not even a contest in comparing Longoria with Freese.
Freese’s World Series heroics deserve to be remembered more than Longoria 2 homers in Game 162. But in the long haul, it’s clear that he’ll never be an Evan Longoria-caliber player. But you really can’t compare anyone to him and expect they’ll measure up favorably. The comp was misguided and unfair to Freese. At the end of the day, Evan Longoria is an outstanding player. David Freese is not at that level but still very good. This season, Freese has given the Cardinals nice performance while staying healthy for basically the entire season, something Longoria couldn’t do, and the Cardinals are certainly ecstatic about. David Freese is no Evan Longoria. But he’s a very productive player in his own right and good luck to him and his Cardinals in the NL Wild Card game.