Monday, November 26, 2007

Strong showing at AFL bodes well for Longoria

For those hoping Rays’ top prospect Evan Longoria reaches the big club this season, consider these numbers: 318 and 4.

They were Longoria’s batting average and the number of home runs he hit during his two-week stint in the Arizona Fall League.

The AFL has almost been a launching pad for top prospects. Boston’s Jacob Ellsbury, Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki and Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun were some of the players who played in Arizona in 2006 and the majors last season.

That those three shined once they reached the big leagues is a good sign for Longoria, the Rays' top prospect, who should see the bulk of the action at third base this spring and could begin the 2008 season as the Rays' starting third baseman while Akinori Iwamura makes the transition to second base.

And, judging by the praise from those who scouted Triple A last season, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see Longoria have as much success as a rookie as Braun, Tulowitzki and Ellsbury.

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