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  1. And when Upton makes contact, the whole ballpark knows it. This guy is a true talent and I drafted him based off his athletic ability and it’s finally paying off.

    Comment by Dscott — April 19, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  2. Thank goodness he is realizing his potential. I was so tired of the Ks, that I was ready to trade him away in a keeper league. Now I get to reap the benefits for being patient!

    Comment by PJ — April 19, 2011 @ 9:09 am

  3. Nice article.

    Bad title.

    His talent is so tantalizing. I happened to be in the ballpark when he hit that 478 foot moon shot last week. It’s so clich├ęd to say but it really did sound different than any other contact made that night (and there were 6 bombs hit).

    I’m doing my damnedest to acquire him in a keeper league this week. I fear the window on that ever happening again is closing fast.

    Comment by Lewis — April 19, 2011 @ 9:57 am

  4. When people look at Justin and BJ Upton and see their talent and potential, they often conclude that there must be something with work ethic, attitude, desire, etc that prevents them from becoming Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.

    I don’t think that’s accurate (not that you stated it), I think what it illustrates is how difficult and unforgiving baseball can be. Once you show that you have a weakness or tendency, the league is all over it.

    On the occasions when JU does put it all together he’s as impressive as anyone. We’ve studied his mechanics a little bit when using him as a reference to teach young players mechanics … and he is sound, with incredibly lower body and hip power/transfer. Not to quote Rocky IV intentionally or anything but “Whatever he hits … he destroys.”

    Physically, he is pretty much what you want out of an outfielder … very similar bodytype to Griffey Jr.

    I think people are just waiting for him to have that .315-40-130 season, which is probably not fair to JU. Most would be pleased with having him be more consistent and churn out .290-25-100 type seasons while playing good defense … being a 4-5 WAR player.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 19, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  5. I think the point of the title is to get attention, even if it does so in a hokey/cheesy way. Editors probably request titles like this.

    Comment by JohnOrpheus — April 19, 2011 @ 10:27 am

  6. I traded Tex for him towards the end of last year in my main league, a 6-keeper 7×7 (BB & K), and took a lot of shit for it from the non-believers.

    Thanks for the write-up. I did some dabbling into his pitch selectivity metrics earlier this week and noticed the same trends, which has definitely been encouraging.

    Comment by Rob — April 19, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  7. The amazing thing about the guy is that he’s 23 years old. It really seems crazy that he was carrying around the “disappointing” tag at an age where most other players and some really great prospects would still be finding their way in the minors.

    Its good to see him off to a nice start – I hope this is the start of a good run of years, he will be a fun player to watch.

    Comment by Matt_in_CO — April 19, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  8. A fault of many baseball fans. They all too often jumpt to the big milestones to define greatness. “He’ll be a 40 HR guy,” or “He’ll be a .300+ hitter.” Positioning what is a theoretical ceiling as a fact of life… essentially projecting a player in a vacuum.

    I too am sometimes guilting of rounding up to a nice even number like 20 HR or 30 steals… Not fair indeed but it’s part of being a fan. I’m okay with it so long as people don’t get angry and/or criticize a player when a he fails to reach those lofty ideals.

    Comment by shibboleth — April 19, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  9. No one cares about your fantasy team.

    Comment by Telo — April 19, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  10. See comment above.

    Comment by Telo — April 19, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  11. See comments above.

    Comment by Telo — April 19, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  12. Good read, good player.

    Comment by tdotsports1 — April 19, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  13. I wonder if Baylor is having a positive effect on his mental game and approach. I’ve heard reports on how he tried to shift the thought process for the Dbacks to bottom hand hitting and driving the ball the other way, just taking what the pitcher gives them. Upton’s numbers seemingly reflect that approach (correct me if I’m wrong). Upton’s power is so great that he doesn’t need to pull everything to the upper deck in left field. Any good contact on a ball anywhere over the plate and the ball is scorched.

    Comment by mlstarr — April 19, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  14. I’m assuming that post was made by Joe Garagiola Jr., the GM who drafted Upton in 2005.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — April 19, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  15. Exactly. If Upton’s “disappointing” 3 WAR season had come in his age 25 season, I could understand many of the comments you see about him. But it was his age 22 season on the heels of a 5 WAR season at age 21.

    His 8 fWAR is similar to his 9 bWAR. I can’t sort by age here, but can at bb-ref.

    Most WAR combined for age 21-22 seasons since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier

    Yeah……I like this list.

    Comment by shoewizard — April 19, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  16. A lot of people play fantasy baseball. Get over it.

    Comment by Rob — April 19, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  17. Yes, a lot of people play fantasy baseball. This doesn’t make comments/boasts about their fantasy baseball leagues interesting or insightful.

    It’s fun to discuss the performance of baseball players and teams; observing them is a shared experience. Your fantasy league is a private experience. You care about how your fantasy team did and nobody else does. It’s meaningless information to us. If you’re on a fantasy baseball forum, go ahead. If you’re part of a celebrity league that people follow there’s room for periodic updates and the like. Otherwise you should probably self-censor.

    Comment by Al Dimond — April 19, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  18. Yup, baseball is a tough game, and even if these two brothers in particular have down years, over the course of their careers we’re probably going to remember them as two of the better ballplayers of their generation. Ok, maybe I love BJ a little too much…but come on!

    Comment by BlackOps — April 19, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  19. I think a lot of people drift over to fangraphs from rotographs and don’t realize the context has changed and with it what’s appropriate (or not) to talk about in comments. If you’re not real familiar with the sites, the color shift doesn’t signify anything, and I kind of wish there was more distinction between the two (while realizing there’s definitely overlap and, uh, synergy as well). But unless/until that’s the case, we’ll have to make the distinction apparent after the fact by pointing it out in the comments.

    Comment by joser — April 19, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  20. Yes, young guys need more patience than we’re wont to give them. Felix Hernandez got complaints for several seasons about “not living up to his billing” even though he was pitching big league games at an age when most players are still in AA or college. It’s hard to have perspective and patience when it feels like the guy has been around for years already (and doubly so when he plays for your team and your team is losing).

    Comment by joser — April 19, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  21. What’s Upton with Justin??



    OMG LOLZERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!@$e@r#e

    Dashing wordplay!

    Comment by onceindc — April 19, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  22. Justin has HOF written all over his swing if he stays healthy and is willing to work hard off the field. His ability to make solid contact and drive the ball remind me of a young Manny, though Manny was much better at the pitch to pitch adjustment you need to make at the top of the game. I think Justin’s ceiling is higher than Jason Heyward’s on offense, who still shows significant glitches that may not be able to be worked out down the road.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — April 19, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

  23. Even in a fantasy baseball forum, it’s not very interesting or helpful to other readers to hear about the roster moves of a complete stranger.
    If you’re comparing the fantasy value of players…that’s helpful. Or asking for trade advice…that may be worth comment on a fantasy comment board. If you’re trying to project the 4×4 stats of a player..that makes sense on a fantasy forum. But no one cares to hear you list the players you have…even in a fantasy forum.

    Comment by Kevin — April 19, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  24. Telo the sentiment is appreciated but seriously. You said it once, just ignore the next one.

    Comment by KG — April 19, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

  25. No one cares that you don’t care.

    Comment by Anon — April 19, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

  26. I care that he doesn’t care.

    No one gives a $#@% about someone else’s fantasy team. It’s like “that guy” at the water cooler talking about it as though others should care.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — April 19, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  27. The 4-post conversation about how no one cares is even more of an annoying waste of space than the single post about something no one cares about.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — April 20, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

  28. I agree with all the comments in this thread about Upton’s age and potential, etc. But the disconcerting thing for me are the home/road splits (.391 wOBA vs .324 wOBA) in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — April 20, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

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