Scout's View: Evan Longoria

Longoria has all the tools for successl

Evan Longoria's story is familiar to Baseball America readers—and to anyone who has even a casual interest in prospects.

The Rays made Longoria the third overall pick in 2006 from Long Beach State and pushed him to Double-A by the end of the year. It was deserved: He hit 18 home runs in 248 at-bats that year.

Despite hitting .262/.407/.595 in 42 spring at-bats, with three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs in spring training, Longoria was shipped to Triple-A Durham right before the season started. Many speculated that the Rays sent him down in an effort to save money down the line, but the club insisted the decision was also player-developmentally motivated.

It seemed like the right call when Longoria went oh for his first 14 Triple-A at-bats. He's since righted the ship, and a scout for an NL club tells us why we never had anything to worry about:

Tool Grade
Hitting 70
Power 70
Fielding 60
Speed 45
Arm 60
"This dude is awesome. He'll be right in there with the top third basemen in game, with guys like Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright. Longoria will be a guy everybody's talking about. I don't want to go out on a limb and say he'll be better than Wright, but I think he can be as good as Zimmerman."

Hitting Ability    
Future Grade: 70, at least

"What I like is the confidence, the swagger and the unbelievable bat speed. He's got .300 hitter and 20 to 30 home run-power written all over him. I just love his attitude and swagger."

"He's got good plate coverage and a good approach, which makes him the dangerous hitter he is. You hear how some batters have holes—well without good plate coverage, a hitter can lose the outer half of the plate."

Future Grade: 70

"He's gonna hit 30 home runs. He hits to all fields. In the spring, I saw him hit a home run to right-center field—just a bomb to right-center. I love a young hitter who can drive the ball to the opposite field."

"I don't want to say anyone can pull the ball for a home run, but you can take pitch middle-away and pull it if you get your arms out in front. The way Longoria drives the ball the other way reminds me of the way Wright hits ball to right-center. That's what makes him special."

"You see some guys in the majors, they have a good a good game and you think, 'Wow.' But then you realize that he hit an inside fastball and an inside hanging slider. But any pitch with a wrinkle on the outer half and he's in trouble. But just shows you how hard it is to throw quality pitches with consistency."

Running Speed
Future Grade: 40-50

"He's a touch below-average, but he's a good baserunner. You know, he can score from first on a double. But to say he's a poor runner, that's not right, either."  

"And below-average is fine for a corner player who hits as well as he does. Because really only corner players with freak potential are above-average runners."

Future Grade: 60

"He's going to make a few errors, and he's probably not a gold glove winner, but he's steady. I saw him make some nice barehanded plays and plays in the hole during spring training."

"He'll be more consistent as time goes by, but if there's one thing he could improve, it's his defensive consistency. He makes his share of good plays and highlight plays, but his defensive effort overall could be more consistent. For example, in spring training he screwed a few routine balls—you know, a line drive off his glove."

Arm Strength
Future Grade: 60

"He's got plenty of arm to play third. We saw Wright win the gold glove last year—he's good, but he's no gold glover. Longoria can be like that: steady but he'll screw up some routine ones."

"For a young player, he doesn't really have a weakness. He just needs experience, to just go out and play. It's just a matter of getting experience and at-bats in the major leagues."