Evan Longoria has gotten a lot of pub lately with his performance in the playoffs, as well he should. He's had one of the best post-seasons by a rookie in recent memory, and he's still got at least 4 more games to go. It's been a fine topper to a very good rookie season.
And yet, I'm still left wondering who I would take between Longoria and our own Jay Bruce over the long term. Longoria has clearly had a better start to his Major League career, but that is only one piece to the puzzle for two players who have incredibly bright futures laying before them.
In his Baseball Prospect Book last season, John Sickels rated Bruce #1 for hitters with Longoria a close 2nd. They both destroyed the minors, with Bruce showing a little more power (.308/.366/.555) and Longoria a little more plate discipline (.301/.386/.534). The both came up with strong defensive reputations, but I think it's safe to say that only Longoria has shown that to be true at this point. That's not to say Bruce won't improve, but some are already talking about Longoria for the Gold Glove.
Longoria definitely has the head start in the majors, but I wouldn't discount the year-and-a-half age difference between the two. If we were talking about a 31-year old-and a 30-year old, it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but young players at this age can make huge strides from one season to the next. It wouldn't be shocking for Bruce to have a better offensive year than Longoria next year. So while this past season was important, it shouldn't be the end of the discussion.
Which leads me to this...who would take, if given the choice of having one or the other? I honestly don't think there is wrong choice. I think both of these guys are going to be MVP caliber players for most of the next 10 years. If I had the choice between the two, I'd probably take Longoria because of the defense, but truthfully I'm just happy that we have one of them on the Reds.