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Evan Longoria helped turn Tampa into a playoff team.
Third base gave me more trouble than I thought it would.
Alex Rodriguez isn't the player he used to be and Brett Lawrie hasn't done enough to even enter the conversation as best third baseman in the A.L. East. Mark Reynolds has good power, but strikes out too much and is a liability in the field.
Which only leaves two.
Evan Longoria is one of the best young players in the game and has been instrumental in the Rays becoming a top team in baseball, but Kevin Youkilis is almost even with him when you compare numbers.
In fact, Youkilis has been better three of the past four seasons. Youkilis had an OPS of .958 in 2008, .961 in '09 and .975 in 2010. Longoria's OPS mark was at .874, .889 and .879 in those three years.
If I had wrote this last year, Youkilis would of been the clear winner strictly based on his offensive production but Youkilis wasn't as good this past season. His OPS dropped to .833, his lowest since his first year as a regular.
This could just be a fluke season, but it appears Youkilis may be on the decline. Longoria, on the other hand, is expected to get even better.
Longoria stayed consistent and once again had an OPS north of .850. This combined with age—Longoria is only 26—and his skills with the leather make him the class of A.L. East third baseman.