Not that he minds, either. Even those Longoria is having a bit of a down year, statistically, it still means other Rays bats are putting up numbers of their own to bolster an offense not known for its potency.
Going into Monday night’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals, Longoria is sitting at 17 home runs and 70 runs batted in. The 31-year-old may still wind up as the team-leader in RBI, but catching current home run leader Logan Morrison will take a Giancarlo Stanton-type surge. Morrison slugged his 30th and 31st dingers of the year Sunday while helping the Rays top the St. Louis Cardinals in extra innings.
As far as RBI go, Longoria’s tied for second behind the 75 driven in by current pacesetter Steven Souza Jr.
A name other than Longoria sitting atop both statistical categories will be a sight not seen since B.J./Melvin Upton led the team with 28 home runs and 78 RBI. That was the season Longoria lost more than three months with a torn hamstring and he still posted 17 homers and 55 RBI in only 74 games.
Longoria led both categories in 2011 and paced the Rays in RBI in 2010 and 2009.
If the third baseman manages to connect on three more homers this season, he’ll be the fourth Ray with 20 or more on the season. That’s only happened once since the team’s 1998 inception – last year. Longoria’s 36 led the way, followed by Brad Miller’s 30, Corey Dickerson’s 24 and Logan Forsythe’s 20.
Longoria and Miller reaching 30 marked only the third time in franchise history that two players managed that feat. The others were in 2009 – Carlos Pena (39) and Longoria (33) – and in 1999 – Jose Canseco (34) and Fred McGriff (32).
This year’s lineup may be the first to have three reach 30 or more round-trippers. Morrison is already there, Souza is at 28 and Dickerson has 25.
A trend that is on track to continue is one the Rays would like see come to an end. Only 30 games remain in the regular season and no Rays batter is on pace to hit the century mark in RBI. Souza, Morrison and Longoria should all get to the upper 80s or low-to-mid 90s, but no one is on pace to reach 100. Failure to do so will mark seven straight seasons without a triple-digit RBI bat in the lineup.
The last player to drive in 100? Who else? Longoria, with 104 in 2010.
Even without a bat reaching 100 RBI, having multiple contributors is a welcomed sight. Prior to last season, Longoria was the only Rays player to hit 20 or more homers for three straight seasons and only Upton (28) and Ben Zobrist (20) managed to do so during Longoria’s 2012 injury-shortened campaign.
Six of Tampa Bay’s 20 total seasons as a Major League Baseball franchise wrapped up with only one Ray reaching at least 20 homers. Just once has the lineup not featured at least one 20-plus homer bat and that came during the 1998 maiden voyage when McGriff led the way with 19.