Evan Michael Longoria (born October 7, 1985 in Downey, California) is a Major League Baseball player for the Tampa Bay Rays. Formerly, Longoria was a star infielder for the Long Beach State college baseball team, the 2005 Cape Cod League MVP, and the 2006 Big West Co-Player of the Year.
High-school yearsEditLongoria attended St. John Bosco High School a st
Evan first attended Rio Hondo Community College. In his Freshman season, Longoria earned first team All-State honors and was offered a scholarship by Long Beach State. He transferred to Long Beach for his Sophomore year and hit .320, earning All-Conference honors. Following a successful MVP summer in the Cape Cod League with the Chatham A's, Longoria shared 2006 Big West Player of the Year honors (with Justin Turner) during his Junior year at Long Beach State.
Longoria was selected by the Rays with the third overall pick in the 2006 Amateur Draft. Longoria, called the "best pure hitter" among college players in the 2006 draft class by Baseball America, was given a $3 million signing bonus.
After signing with the Rays, Longoria tore through his first assignments in the minor leagues. After just eight games with the Class A Hudson Valley Renegades, Longoria moved up to the Visalia Oaks and impressed the organization with his quick success, hitting .327 with 8 HR and 28 RBI in 28 games. This earned him a promotion to the Class AA Montgomery Biscuits where he hit .267 with 6 HR through the end of the season, and hit .345 in the postseason, including a walk-off two run home run in the Southern League Division Playoffs to put Montgomery into the championship. He was widely considered the top third base prospect in the minors.
Longoria followed up his successful debut with another stellar year in 2007. Starting the year with Montgomery, Longoria hit .307 with 21 HR and 76 RBI in 105 games for the Biscuits before a late season promotion to AAA Durham Bulls. In 31 games with the Bulls he hit .269 with 5 HR and 19 RBI, but also had 29 strikeouts. He finished 2007 with a combined average of .299, 26 HR, 95 RBI and 73 walks for an OBP of .402.
In October 2007, sportswriter Ken Rosenthal opined that Longoria "might be next season's Ryan Braun, making a rapid ascent to the majors." Some scouts have in particular said that the way that the ball "explodes off his bat" reminds them of Braun. He was expected to start at third for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 with the move of Akinori Iwamura to second base, but ultimately failed to make the opening day roster and was optioned to AAA Durham. According to reports, the Rays elected to send him down to complete his development, citing his short 31 game stint in Durham and drawing comparisons to the seasons of two other highly-hearlded 3rd base prospects. Brewers former 3rd baseman Ryan Braun started his 2007 season in AAA after playing there shortly in 2006 and eventually won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. The Kansas City Royals Alex Gordon on the other hand, was brought up to start the 2007 season in the Majors after a similarly short stint, only to struggle for his first two months. Longoria had one hit in three at bats with an RBI in his Major League debut April 12th against the Orioles in place of the injured of Willy Aybar.
Longoria hit his first career home run on April 14, 2008 against the New York Yankees 2008 at Tropicana Field. He had his first career two-homer game on May 24, 2008, and drove in six runs as the Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 11-4. Both of the homers came off the Orioles' Steve Trachsel, a Long Beach State alumnus.
On July 10, 2008 Longoria won the 2008 AL Final Fan vote over outfielder Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox and 1st Baseman Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, sending him to New York and his first All Star game. The 2008 NL Final vote was outfielder Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Rays have signed Longoria to a six-year, $17.5 million contract with options for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The first six years of the contract cover his arbitration years, with three more years added by team options. If the team exercises its one-year option for 2014, and then its two-year option for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the deal could be worth up to $44 million.