FanGraphs had Longoria as a 6.9 WAR player in 2010, meaning he was nearly seven wins better than a replacement-level third baseman. Let’s say Longoria is out slightly longer than those three weeks and misses 25 games, or one-sixth of the 151 he played last season. Longoria was projected to have similar value this season, so that means we’re talking about one win over 25 games, right?
Not necessarily. His replacement at third base will be Sean Rodriguez, Tampa’s utility guy, who was a 1.9 WAR player in part-time duty last season, owing mostly to a good defensive rating. Add it up, and the statistical measure of losing Longoria for three to four weeks is a little less than a win.
Of course, in the AL East, every win could prove vitally important. But it’s an important reminder that one injury doesn’t usually ruin a team’s chances, especially a short-term one like Longoria’s.
That doesn’t mean the Rays shouldn’t be worried. They’re 0-3 after getting swept at home by the Orioles, a team they went 11-7 against in 2010. Plus there’s this fact I dug up: Of the last 40 teams to make the postseason, only one started a season 0-3 (the 2007 Phillies).
Now that’s more random factoid than statistically significant metric. I’m sure all 40 of those teams lost three in a row at some point during the season. Still, no team wants to start 0-3 against a club that was below .500 the previous season.
Of course, on the bright side, they have company in the AL East basement.