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Is Evan Longoria The Greatest Third Baseman The San Francisco Giants Have Ever Had?

December 20, 2017


Earlier today, news broke that veteran third baseman Evan Longoria had been traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the San Francisco Giants. At press time, details of the deal were not known outside of Denard Span heading to Tampa in return.

Longoria is coming off the worst season of his professional career, although 20 homers and 86 RBI is still a passable stat line. Longoria has long been one of the games best at the hot corner, but his advanced metrics suggest he could be declining. Although his WAR was still 2.5, he was technically a below average offensive third baseman, bolstered by his always excellent defensive play.As Fangraphs pointed out last year, Longoria is one of the most likely active players to find himself in the Hall of Fame, based on what we know statistically.This then begs the question: Is Longoria the best third baseman the Giants franchise has ever had?He is most certainly an upgrade from Pablo Sandoval, but is he better than some of the other legendary Giants 3Bs?

Matt Williams

Williams was an elite power hitter during his time with the Giants, swatting 30 home runs six times during his tenure in the Bay. If you want to be a real contrarian during your next baseball debate at the bar, make the argument that Williams could have broken Roger Maris home run record before Mark McGwire if not for the strike-shortened 1994 season. At the end of 112 games, Williams had 43 home runs, which put him very much within striking distance. Most impressive about that season was his .339 ISO, which may not be in 2001 Barry Bonds .536 territory, but is still otherworldly. The University of Nevada product also won four Gold Glove awards to go with his prodigious slugging.

Bill Mueller

Although Mueller was consistent, his best years actually came after he left San Francisco. Be honest, you did not remember that Bill Mueller won a batting title in 2003. No, you didnt.Mueller became a folk hero in Boston for being the one guy who could actually hit Mariano Riveras pitching, with a .455 lifetime average against him.Darrell EvansSpeaking of consistency, Evans hit over 20 home runs in 10 different seasons, and was the very first player to hit 40 home runs in both the American League and the National League.Since were on the topic of obscure trivia, Evans was also on base when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruths iconic mark of 714 career home runs.Evans final season with the Giants in 1983 was one of his best, smacking 30 home runs, driving in 94 runs and batting .277 for a Fangraphs OFF rating of a whopping 32.4.

Pablo Sandoval

Sandovals run as an elite slugger was short and sweet. In 2009, he went absolutely nuts, absolutely out of nowhere with a .330 batting average, 25 homers and 90 RBI. However, he cemented his place in Giants lore in the 2012 World Series, when he blasted three dingers in Game 1 of the World Series, all off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander.People might scoff at Sandoval because of his weight problems and truncated stint as a top third baseman, but the facts remain that he has three World Series rings, a World Series MVP and two trips to the All-Star Game to his name.Also, Panda is an all-time great baseball nickname, one that would have stood up in the golden era of baseball monikers alongside Cool Papa, Turkey, Iron Horse, etc.

Check out Tampa Bay Rays tickets or San Francisco Giants tickets today and enjoy an epic game!

Image Source: Topps

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