I have lived in what is called the Tampa Bay area all my life. I was born in the hospital right across the street from Tropicana Field. It was a great feeling when the Tampa Bay Rays or Devil Rays came into existence. The organization has gone through major changes. At one time the Rays struggled to win games but now they are the winning train. This team has found a way to do it and the way of developing players threw the draft. The Rays draft kids and let them develop in the minors leagues. Tampa Bay has one of the lowest payrolls in all of the MLB. At the start, they drafted one Evan Longoria. Longoria was the face of the franchise for many years. He was one of the Rays players that fans loved to see at the ballpark.
Longoria was a tremendous third baseman. I myself went to many games and any balls that were hit down the third baseline were gobbled up. He also has one of the greatest moments in Tampa Bay Rays history. Longoria hit a home run that defeated the New York Yankees and got the Rays into the American League Wild Card game. The Yankees made the playoffs but the Rays division rival, the Boston Red Sox, were knocked out by Tampa Bay. Longoria was also what might have been the team captain while with the Rays. He would be the first to celebrate players when they had big hits. Longoria was also the first to criticize players when they did not do what they were supposed to. I remember a moment when B.J Upton did not run to first base on a routine fly ball. Longoria was one that confronted him which started a small dugout brawl.
The Rays are continuing to win after Longoria era. He left in 2016 and signed a six-year 100 million dollar contract with the San Francisco Giants. A player that I can say is familiar or could be the new Longoria is Brandon Lowe. Lowe is starting to become a fan favorite with the Rays fans. He is under contract in Tampa Bay through 2024 on a six-year $24 million dollar contract. Lowe is an in-fielder that also plays second base. He is just as solid at his position as Longoria was at his. Both players have contributed to the overall offense that the Rays have. Lowe does not have much playing time with the Ray,s but if things continue the way things are going he will have the same stats that Longo had.
Lowe has another aspect to him as he also plays in the outfield. I am not saying it makes him a better player than Longoria was. I think that both are the same in the way the play. They are both fan favorites with the Tampa Bay Rays. I believe that Brandon Lowe is the next Evan Longoria that will carry Tampa Bay for years to come. The Rays are off to good start this year they are currently one of the top teams in the American League. Many experts had the Rays winning the World Series in 2020. This season has been crazy with Covid-19, but we are all happy to see baseball back. Look for Lowe to be the leader of the team for years to come. I am not saying he will go after players as Longoria did but he is leading with the way he is playing currently.
What are your thoughts. Is Brandon Lowe the new Evan Longoria? Leave a comment below.