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  1. I think analysis of the Uptons simply proves the maxim for the millionth time that hitting a baseball is a very difficult thing to do. A person can have the greatest pedigree, the greatest set of raw tools, the highest ceiling, as well as previous productive seasons, but none of that guarantees future success.

    Comment by Rusty — November 8, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  2. “On the position player WAR leaderboards, B.J. is 13th in the American League since 2007, his first full season; ”

    Names that fall below BJ on that list are notable non superstars:

    “B.J. has never won appeared in the All-Star game, ”

    It appears that ALL of those names that fall below him on that list have been All-Stars.

    It appears that BJ has been under appreciated, if anything, except from a few Rays fans.

    Comment by MakeitRayn — November 8, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  3. Maybe B.J. Upton hasn’t been the 13th best player in the AL since 2006. According to Fangraphs, BJ has 23.1 WAR in the majors. According to Baseball Reference, he has 13.6 WAR. So over 6.5 seasons, BR has him worth 9.5 WAR less, or almost 1.5 WAR lower per season.

    That makes BJ instead of a 3.5 WAR, borderline All-Star, a 2.1 WAR average major leaguer.

    Comment by Bob — November 8, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  4. While I think 2010 bad Justin (3 WAR) was more him growing up than anything else (he was still 22), doesn’t the fact he played through a hand injury this year make more sense than anything for the lack of power? Almost all of his non-power stats were virtually identical to his career line, and hand injuries notoriously sap power. He hasn’t been consistently great, I agree, but I think calling him lost is far from the truth, and I think the DBacks are nuts to even consider selling low on him.

    Comment by Dreamin — November 8, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  5. If only every player could disappoint like Justin Upton…

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — November 8, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

  6. I see that disappointment, and raise you everything.

    Comment by Matt Bush — November 8, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  7. You make a semi-valid point, but listing a lot of people with less AL WAR since 2007 is a bit dishonest as many guys have been injured (V-Mart, Ells, Crawford; and Hamilton was in the NL in 2007) – WAR being cumulative and all, you can give him credit for durability, but then you have to accept that he produces less WAR per 162 (i.e. is not as good when on the field).

    That being said, the Uptons are suffereing a bit of a ‘prospect backlash’ whether from not being as good as hyped (hasn’t hurt Gordon though), or for percieved attitude/arrogance problems.

    Did BJ sacrifice some discipline for power for his FA year?

    Also there is no excuse for the Uptons not being better fielders

    I could easily see Justin pulling a Kemp and sorting himself out to superstar status. And I hope he does

    Comment by Paul — November 9, 2012 @ 3:50 am

  8. Justin Upton=Andruw Jones hitting wise

    Upton will never come close to his Griffey Jr. ceiling as Andruw Jones never hit his true ceiling with the bat

    Comment by mwash1983 — November 9, 2012 @ 7:52 am

  9. Too much hype, too high of expectations. There will be an article in five years telling us Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are just not as good as we thought they were. I belive that a tough game like baseball made to look easy by some players spoils our expectations. There are hundreds of other players that are out to beat those guys and win for their own teams, its just hard to adjust for some players that get there on talent alone.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — November 9, 2012 @ 9:57 am

  10. I think this quote pretty much sums things up:

    “He’s 24 years old. It’s time for him to be a consistent performer”

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m pretty sure that at age 24 “consistent performer” is not a phrase that would have described me very well. “Consistently late to work” is probably a bit more accurate.

    Comment by Rob — November 9, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  11. The D-Backs are basically run like the Marlins, but since the D-Backs are owned by a notorious dick, people notice a lot less.

    Fans shouldn’t blame Upton for being a very good player that isn’t a star, and their attitude that his “failure” is an attitude problem is total BS. It’s rare that I hope a player becomes a Yankee and puts up MVP season after MVP season, but if that happened with Upton, it would serve the D-Backs fans right.

    Comment by philosofool — November 9, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  12. Likewise. I have no idea why Kendrick said what he said, but it was both strategically foolish — it attacked the trade value of one of his own players while also attacking his confidence — and logically hard to fathom.

    Comment by Alex Remington — November 9, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  13. I was just simply using the same weak analysis Remington was. Seeing that the term “superstar” is a non quantifiable measurement, and open to interpretation, Alex would have been better off defining how he interprets what a superstar is, and not leaving it up the the reader.

    Some people may believe peak production is what makes a superstar a superstar. If that is the case, then yes; BJ has never had an MVP caliber season (5WAR is pretty close) nor is he a superstar. Yet BJ has provided top tier value over a consistence basis helping his team to the playoffs (and ever having a monster superstar like performance in the 2008 PO). Staying healthy is a valuable skill, and it shouldn’t be over looked.

    “you make a semi-valid point, but listing a lot of people with less AL WAR since 2007 is a bit dishonest as many guys have been injured (V-Mart, Ells, Crawford; and Hamilton was in the NL in 2007) – WAR being cumulative and all, you can give him credit for durability, but then you have to accept that he produces less WAR per 162 (i.e. is not as good when on the field).”

    The problem with this is, all these players have had their chance to reach their peaks (typical ages 27-29), so how is it unfair to judge pre-age-peak BJ to post peak superstars? This article is a bit premature, either wait till BJ has passed his chance to shine or maybe predict his feature years and compare it to other superstars.

    Comment by makeitRayn — November 9, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  14. Maybe I didn’t make this clear, but this piece was almost entirely a reaction to the public characterization of both Uptons as “disappointing.” Like I say, “much of the criticism hasn’t been fair.”

    As another reader points out, the perception of BJ’s career almost entirely depends on whether you view his defense as above-average (as UZR does, in fWAR) or below-average (as DRS does, in rWAR).

    They’re both good players who have occasionally been great and occasionally been mediocre.

    Comment by Alex Remington — November 9, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  15. Take a look at the following article by Sky Andrecheck:

    In short, Sky suggest a high school first selection choice, on average, accumulated 20.7 WAR. BJ was a second overall selection, but considered first overall by many.

    In addition, the following is an article done by Victor Wang, where he did research on how much a top 1-10 hitting prospect is worth:

    In short, the article states that a top 1-10 hitting prospect (according to Sickles and BA) is worth $36.5M in surplus..

    Currently, BJ has been worth 23.1 career WAR, that’s 2.4 WAR more than the expected WAR of a what a FIRST (not second) overall pick is predicted achieve. In addition, BJ has been paid 16,059,000 in salary over his career plus a 4.6 mil signing bonus, coming up to about 24.66 mil. Now if we take that 23.1 WAR x 5.5 mil$/ WAR we get 127.1 mil$ or 102.4 in surplus value; and a whopping 65.9 mil more than the expected surplus value of a top 10 hitting prospect.

    Once again, if anything, BJ Upton has been undervalued by many. He is just now reaching his peak years, and he has already out preformed the expected performances of a first overall selection (not second) in his young career.

    As a Rays fan, the only disappointment i feel for BJ is the fact that he will be leaving TB, without raising the World Series Championship trophy once before he left.

    Comment by makeitRayn — November 9, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  16. Alex Remington flip-flopping in the comments. Own your words, man.

    “There’s no way around it: B.J. Upton and Justin Upton have disappointed.”

    Comment by pudieron89 — November 9, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  17. what does this mean? “B.J. has never won appeared in the All-Star game”

    Comment by moosh — November 9, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  18. It’s also an example of how maddening a single measure of value like WAR can be. One might expect some noise in the fielding statistics over the course of a single season, but the two WAR figures cited over the course of 6.5 seasons are terribly dissimilar and can lead to vastly different conclusions about the same player.

    I don’t know enough to know which measure of value is superior, but one can see how easy it can be for old school “non-stat” types to dismiss WAR in general because of specific situations like this.

    Comment by Jason B — November 9, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

  19. Agreed. Can’t wait to see him traded and put up another 6 WAR season – preferably for the M’s. Some forward progress would be nice, but that doesn’t always happen in a linear fashion and it’s easy to forget that a lot of players his age – even guys still seen as semi-legit prospects – are still figuring things out in AAA.

    Also, I hate to be this guy and I’m certainly not plugged in enough to the Rays or DBacks club house to speak to it, but I sort of wonder how much race plays into the “bad attitude” thing. It seems like that’s a meaninglessly vague term that gets attached to black players just because they’re not Nick Swisher in the dugout.

    Comment by Basebull — November 9, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  20. Hold up – Andruw Jones hit 51 HR when they were testing for steroids. He hit 30+ seven times – phenomenal power hitter throughout his 20s. Yeah the average was kinda low, but .267/.345/.505 with that defense made him a HOFer in his 20s.

    Comment by David — November 9, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  21. ” Upton was not compared to another one of his teammates, who has actually wound up having a better career, and has two more WAR than B.J. since 2007. No, not Evan Longoria, who was a phenom like Upton. Ben Zobrist, who wasn’t. A 2006 Tampa Tribune story (which I can’t find on the web; I’m reading it in LexisNexis) made the contrast clear: ”

    Not trying to be a smart ass, but what are you trying to say with this paragraph? I’ve read it 4 times and I just keep getting a jumble of words that I cant make sense of.

    Comment by cs3 — November 9, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  22. In baseball reference WAR, since integration 1947 there have been 6,434 players to appear in ballgames through age 24.

    Justin Upton ranks 74th in WAR among those 6,434 players, or top 1.2%

    I’m not disappointed too much. Just a little.

    Comment by shoewizard — November 11, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  23. Didn’t you mean “the Marlins are run by a notorious dick.”

    Really, they don’t make them much worse than Loria.

    Comment by John C — November 11, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  24. BJ Upton is terribly underrated. I get that he fell below the obligations of being a superstar, but once you get over that there’s a very nice player there.

    I think I would take him over the next 3-4 years over his brother, though I do think Justin Upton still has terrific upside himself.

    Comment by Jack — November 11, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  25. Possibly I take that last part back. Point was that I like BJ Upton a whole lot moving forward. I think he wants out of the Trop, rightfully so.

    Comment by Jack — November 11, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  26. Yeah, I’ll take Justin over BJ 11 times out of 10, 8 days a week. He’s shown that he’s a much better hitter over his age 20-24 seasons than his brother was over his 22-27 seasons.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — November 12, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  27. I have never had any respect for Remington since he wrote that stupid and silly article victimizing Milton Bradley.

    Bradley is a clown – and brought almost all of his problems on himself.

    Yet people like Remington consistently forget what the word “accountability” means and in that particular situation painted everyone criticizing Bradley as a racist.

    Net result = Remington has no credibility.

    Comment by Hadley Rohanna — November 12, 2012 @ 7:25 am

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