Matt Long, OF
Every teams wants a guy like Matt Long on their roster. Long is pretty darn close to being a Major Leaguer, and if he were to be on any other team, possibly a starter. Long is a guy who could easily win a heart and hustle award, because he plays at 100% every game, which is very easy to like. Truly, when we talked about Long as a group, we all had stories about how much we all liked this guy.
"Matt Long is what every Major League team wants, a good baserunner with speed who can really mash. For a guy his size, he hits the ball hard and consistently, and will battle well with a two-strike count. I really like him."
He isn't big by stature or overall size in any way at five-foot, 11 inches, and 175 pounds, but what he lacks in size, he has in hustle. Long has a combination of hitting the ball hard, good running on the base paths and outstanding speed, which will and has lead to some big extra base hits. When it comes to his swing, along with hitting the ball hard, he has above average contact, but there is something very small that is keeping him from the Majors.
The scout that was quoted in the beginning of this report also stated, "He pulls the ball just a little too much. I won't say he has struggles placing the ball, but he could have a little bit more control at the plate."
When it comes to Long's fielding, the Angels gave him an interesting challenge in 2012. He was moved to the infield to play second base. While in his new role, he had very slight problems adjusting, and was able to split time from the infield and outfield. Long has a strong arm for a smaller guy, and the mixture of reading the ball well off the bat with his raw speed have put him as a great presence in the outfield.
From the start of his minor league career to the end, Long's extra base hits and stolen base numbers have always been with each league's leaders. Long has yet to have a season where he has had less than either 25 doubles or 20 stolen bases, the career best being in 2011, where he had 34 doubles and 34 stolen bases.
Long has never really had a poor season at the plate either, as his career worst batting average came in 2012, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, batting .282. It really shows with his minor league career split of .293/.370/.469, and his strikeout percentage of 15.6% (1 strikeout per 6.3 plate appearances).
His power numbers aren't high, which comes with not being a power hitter. He has the same amount of career home runs as triples actually at 50 (an average of 10 each season). With those extra bases though, he's managed to keep a steady diet of RBIs at 64.8 per season.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
Oh boy, would we all like to see Matt Long on the Angels bench. Problem is, there are so many outfielders already on the Angels 40-man roster, as well as the 25-man roster of the Major League club. Long could easily be a fifth outfielder for the Angels, possibly where Collin Cowgill is currently. We never want to deem a guy as "trade bait" but Long could possibly be that.
Long will most likely start in Triple-A Salt Lake out of Spring Training, but we expect him to see at least a few Major League appearances over the 2014 season. Possibly even gain a full time spot on the 25-man roster depending on how well he excels at the Major League level.
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