We are combining these two positions because there are only three players combined that fit the bill at these two positions. There are a number of players in both spots that are a season away from qualifying. As we saw with Dustin Pedroia, there is a reason why we wait ten seasons to profile these players. Sometimes they fall right off the map and we will see that with one of the players we are profiling this time around.
Evan Longoria– San Francisco Giants
Longoria is actually doing better than many of the guys we’ve profiled this season, but his decline is pretty typical. If 300 is the standard by which we put guys into the Hall of Fame, he is currently short of his goal. As of this writing, he has 45.4 WS/5 to go along 50.5 FWAR and 53.6 BWAR. In other words, he is relatively close if he can manage to throw up another couple of seasons like he has the last two.
Longoria has three seasons remaining on his contract, so the Giants are likely stuck with him anyway. Pablo Sandoval has eaten into his playing time this season. If he gets dealt before the deadline then Longoria could surge down the stretch and get to the 20 home run plateau. Longoria seems to be on the same kind of career path of guys like Scott Rolen and David Wright. No, they didn’t have the same career track, but they are guys that fans thought should have done more. That might have a more dramatic impact on his candidacy than any of the numbers themselves.
Elvis Andrus– Texas Rangers
Andrus is only 30 years old, but he has been around since 2009. However, much of his game has been predicated on speed and defense. He has 22 steals so far this season, so he hasn’t seemed to have slowed down any. Some thought Andrus was taking the next step in 2017 when he developed some power, but that power has seemingly disappeared over the past two seasons.
Andrus has three more guaranteed seasons with the Rangers and then an option season for 2023. If he finishes his contract he will almost certainly surpass 2000 hits and 1000 runs scored. He will also surpass 300 steals as early as this season and has an outside chance at 400. Unfortunately, outside of that 2017 he hasn’t had any season that we could call a signature season. He has only two seasons with an .800 OPS or higher. Defensive metrics are not as high on his defense as many of the so-called pundits. He will probably be doing good to stay mediocre for the remainder of the contract.
Troy Tulowitzki– New York Yankees
Tiulowitzki officially retired from baseball last week. It was a sad ending to a career where so much more was expected. The list of guys like Tulowitzki is long and distinguished. Essentially, it starts like “he would have been a Hall of Famer but…” In his case he really couldn’t stay on the field long enough to get the requisite value necessary to get in.
Tulowitzki missed most of 2017 and all of 2018 suffering through ankle injuries. He tried to make a go of it this season, but just couldn’t answer the bell after a few at bats in April. The writing was on the wall, but give him credit for recognizing it and immediately going to work as a college coach. Often players in that situation can linger and and try desperately to hold on to their dreams.