Was there ever any doubt? Evan Longoria was the best Rays player to take the field this decade.
The last decade of Tampa Bay Rays baseball has provided fans with some great baseball played by great baseball players. The greatest Rays baseball player of the decade and franchise history is Evan Longoria… but you already knew that, so let’s take a look back at how great he was this decade.
Evan Longoria essentially opened the decade atop the baseball pedestal. Prior to the start of the decade, Longoria helped lead the Rays to the World Series in 2008, a season in which he won the AL Rookie of the Year award and finished eleventh in the MVP voting. In 2009 he won his first gold glove, the Silver Slugger award, and finished 19thin the MVP vote. His 2010, 2011, and 2013 seasons were not only his best seasons, but also some of the best performances the league saw. Longoria spent 80% of this decade wearing a Rays uniform and was truly great while doing so.
Prior to being traded to the San Francisco Giants in the offseason that followed the 2017 season, Longoria played in 1156 games for the Rays this decade. He finished within the top-10 of the MVP vote three times, made an all-star appearance, and won his second and third gold gloves. He was worth 38.0 bWAR while playing with the Rays this decade. He launched 201 bombs, maintained an OPS of .809 and finished with a 124 OPS+, meaning he was 24% better than the average hitter from 2010 to 2017.
Here is the breakdown of his accolades:
– 2010: All-star, Gold Glove, MVP-6
– 2011: MVP-10
– 2013: MVP-6
– 2016: MVP-19
– 2017: Gold Glove
In 2010, he was worth a jaw dropping 8.2 wins above replacement. Only Josh Hamilton (8.7 bWAR) and Roy Halladay (8.3 bWAR) were more valuable that season. The following season he was worth 7.2 wins and in 2013 he was worth 6.2 wins.
MLB.com ranked him as the fourth best third baseman this decade, finishing only behind Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson, and Nolan Arenado. That is some pretty impressive company. He finished ahead of Manny Machado, Kris Bryant, and Justin Turner among others.
He was without a doubt the best player to take the field wearing a Rays uniform this decade.