Longoria Keeping The Line Moving

The Long Beach State baseball program has had its share of talented shortstops over the past seven years or so, and the latest in that procession is Evan Longoria. After an MVP showing in the Cape Cod League last summer, the talented infielder has now become one of the elite prospects of the 2006 draft. Bill Gayton, the Padres director of scouting, was in attendance on Saturday to watch Longoria and the rest of he Long Beach State squad.

When star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round of the 2005 draft, it was difficult to imagine that Long Beach State would be able to find someone to fill such big shoes, let alone so quickly. Of course, that was likely the common belief after the Oakland Athletics selected former Dirtbag standout, Bobby Crosby, in the 1st round of the 2001 draft as well. Again and again, the program churns out one star shortstop prospect after another. And, amazingly enough, Evan Longoria could end up being the best of the bunch.

Evan Longoria on his goals for the 2006 season: "I'm more concerned with team goals right now more than anything else. Obviously, I'd like to win the conference, then regionals and hopefully go as far as possible and see what happens. We have a good looking team, but we just have to keep working as a unit and never settle. The key is to keep improving as a group."

On what adjustments he'd like to make in 2006: "I feel like I've developed myself as a player consistently throughout my college career and that's why I'm the player that I am today. So, making adjustments, looking ahead, and getting better is a key part of my game. I think I just need to focus on every at-bat and never give anything away. If I can really bear down for every at-bat a little more, I'll continue to improve. I don't know that there is anything that jumps out that needs to be fixed. There's just little things that I'd like to keep tweaking over the course of a season."

On his approach each time he steps in the box: "I try to keep things pretty simple. When I get up there, I'm looking for a quality at-bat. I want to make sure I do my job as part of the lineup by working the pitcher and making sure he throws a lot of pitches. I want the pitcher to think that I'm not only a tough out, but a guy that's going to make him work very hard. But, my approach depends on the situation and the pitcher as well. If the pitcher is always around the plate, I might try to get him early in the count or the other way around. And, if the situation calls for contact, I can cut down on my swing a bit."

On how much college ball has helped him develop: "Oh wow, it has been great and that doesn't even cover it. Out of high school and even out of junior college, I was nowhere near ready to compete at a higher level. The difference in me as a player is just night and day. When you play at this high level in college, it just teaches you so much about what it takes to win, what it takes to be a team player, and most importantly, the value of work ethic."

On his MVP season in the Cape Cod League in 2005: "That was a lot of fun playing there. It is a great atmosphere to play in and just gives you some great experiences. But, the most important thing for me was the talent that I had the opportunity to play with. When you play with guys that talented, it just makes you a better player because you have to elevate your game."

On the most important thing he's learned in college baseball: "I've learned the importance and value of work ethic. There is nothing more important than working hard. You can be the most talented guy in the world, but the guy who works harder is going to come out on top."

On what MLB player he would compare himself to: "I'd like to say that I'm a lot like David Eckstein. Not that we are the same type of player, but I love how hard he works and what he does even though he doesn't have the most talent of all the guys on the field. I'd like to be looked at as a guy that has a lot of talent, but more so as a guy who worked hard to get there."

On his strongest attribute as a ballplayer: "My work ethic and my leadership are my strongest attributes. I'm never going to get lazy and I like to lead by example. If I'm out there doing extra work on every part of my game, I think that's something that teammates really appreciate and respect. I have a bigger role to step into this year for our team and I'm up for that task."

On his thoughts about the 2006 draft: "It is tough to keep off your mind because you know it isn't that far off. A lot of people like to speculate about where I'm going to be picked, but I know that stuff takes care of itself. So, I just let other people do that speculation and I'll just do my thing on the field."

On the most important thing that a scout should know about him is: "I love this game. That's what I want everyone to know about me. I'm not playing for any other reason other than because I love it. I'm the type of guy who likes to get to the field hours early to work on things and stay hours after to work on some more things. I just love being at the field. There's no other place I'd rather be. If you wanted to find me, the best place to check would be the baseball field. I love to be there and just play the game."

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