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  1. Why do we compare all-encompassing stats to run environment, but leave component stats context-free? Wasn’t everyone hitting better 5 years ago? How have league contact rates fared? I assumed they’ve gone down, since K’s seem to be going way up.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — September 10, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  2. Since 2008, the American League average contact rate has dropped from 82% to 80%. Obviously these things aren’t perfectly stable, but they’re generally stable enough that we can keep from over-complicating things. Run environments can be enormously different. League stats year-to-year over a shorter period aren’t, mostly.

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — September 10, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  3. saw somewhere that BJU has a very high looking strike 3 rate…. Maybe he’s just swinging more now that free agency is staring right at him and this is more or less his last chance to pad his stats… with those additional swings comes lots of misses and some big hits.

    Comment by Spike — September 10, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  4. Upton is such a weird player. It’s funny because people always talk of his potential but he’s already a solid player as it is. Of course, he could be better but still, it’s not as if he’s terrible. Not to mention the fact that he always tends to streak later in the season. He did it last September as well(do I even have to mention the 08 playoffs?). He’s just an anomaly in my opinion. Nothing about him makes all that much sense. So I’m not surprised at what you’ve brought here in this article. Just tack on to the list of things that BJ Upton confuses us with.

    Comment by Roy J — September 10, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  5. Parallels between Upton and Adrian Beltre.

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — September 10, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  6. dear jeff, really enjoying your daily articles. great to have you here. thanks.

    Comment by brendan — September 10, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

  7. Oh how I wish in my little fantasy world that the Bravos would sign BJ and trade for his brother Justin during this offseason.

    Comment by Wil — September 10, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  8. Why would you so many lazy [redacted] in the outfield?

    Comment by Warde — September 10, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  9. Seconded.

    Comment by NS — September 10, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  10. Your logic behind Bob Abreu is completely flawless. I laughed hard

    Comment by Alex — September 10, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  11. That comment makes me sad for America. Heyward, and both Upton brothers (especially Justin) are fantastic fielders for their positions. I’m sure you’d rather have “hustle” guys like Sam Fuld, Tony Campana and some other no-talent white guy in your outfield, but they would get crushed by Justin, Jason and BJ. Go look at the calendar real quick, it’s 2012.

    Comment by David — September 10, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

  12. I think there is a widespread belief among players and agents that teams pay for offensive production (homers and RBIs) in free agents more than anything else, and things like k-to-bb ratio don’t impact the ultimate payday that much. Sure, some sabermetric teams will pass on him because of it, but you know there are at least a few GMs more concerned with flashy offensive numbers. It only takes one team impressed to give Upton a big payday.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — September 10, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  13. In that case why did he wait till Aug 11 to change? Why not take this approach from the beginning of his career? He’s just a hard player to figure out offensively.

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — September 10, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

  14. Everything else hadn’t worked so far and he tried something different? Some people simply respond to pressure better when backed up against a wall.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — September 10, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  15. I don’t know if this adds anything to the analysis, but B.J. has noticeably changed his stance in the last month. He went from squatting with his feet almost four feet apart to standing straight up with his feet a bit wider than his shoulders. The result has been a much smoother swing & much better contact

    Comment by Glorpo — September 10, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  16. He should remain fast and agile enough, assuming he avoids injury, to be a plus defender in centre field and a plus base runner for another 3 years (until the season in which he turns 31). His power should also maintain for another 3 seasons or so. I wouldn’t want to be the team relying on him for above-average production beyond that.
    5 years, $55million…I wouldn’t offer him a dime more than that if I cared about how I spent my money…

    Comment by hildebeast21 — September 10, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  17. Upton always changes his stance.

    Comment by Roy J — September 10, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  18. Can you guys please consider using a moderator for posts? Comments lies these are sickening. Even in redacted form this has no place on this or any other site.

    Comment by Tim — September 10, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

  19. how has warde’s comment not been deleted yet?

    Comment by jim — September 10, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

  20. how has warde himself not been deleted yet?

    Comment by Dan Out West — September 10, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

  21. What happens if you take away those three swings? Confounding indeed. But I’d rather see consistent repetition of skills than fluky wRC+.

    I hope my team doesn’t sign him.

    Comment by danny — September 10, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

  22. stupid raycist

    Comment by pudieron89 — September 10, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

  23. Or maybe pitchers challenge him on certain counts because he has a reputation for being patient, and by being more aggressive he is, at least temporarily, gaining an advantage. He has been especially effective on 0-0, 1-1, 3-0 and 3-1 counts — counts when pitchers might be expecting a patient hitter to be taking and might try to get ahead.

    I noticed the same pattern the other day (after reading the post on Pedro Ciriaco) for Will Middlebrooks, a player who is mistakenly thought to be impatient (he has an O-Swing of 27% and a swing% of 44% both well below the league median). I was trying to figure out how a player with such a low swing rate (and one didn’t look like a wild swinger, at least to me) could simultaneously have both such a high K and low BB rate (his contact rate is not good, but it is not terrible either — it is consistent with other power hitters), and it struck me that maybe pitchers were getting ahead by grooving the first pitch because they were fairly confident he wouldn’t swing. To verify the hypothesis, I looked up how he was doing on 0-0 pitches and they seemed to back up this hypothesis. Like Upton, he was consipicuously effective when swinging at 0-0 or 1-1.

    I don’t have enough data to know if this idea is correct, but I thought it at least worth throwing out there.

    Comment by Patrick — September 10, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  24. Dey took r turrrs

    Comment by jr05s — September 11, 2012 @ 12:46 am

  25. Eh, Beltre at least had a very bad home park to blame his issues on. He vaguely made sense. I will admit, BJ Upton is a peculiar player. His numbers remind me of some guys’ stats, but nobody over the last 20 years. I mean, who has had comparable careers by this age?

    Is he Rick Monday with more speed and worse OBP?
    Is he Corey Patterson with better OBP?
    Is he something else entirely?

    I’d be wary of handing him a long contract, but there’s no doubt there’s value there.

    Comment by B N — September 11, 2012 @ 1:05 am

  26. He’s a decent player given he players centerfield and flashes five tool potential but there is an up and down quality that says he may not figure it out until later in his career.

    Already 28, it may not click until his early 30s.

    Comment by Larry — September 11, 2012 @ 1:34 am

  27. Does his athleticism mean that his body will give him a longer window to be great? 25-30 is generally the prime with 27 as the peak. So if he’s already 28, you’d think his time is passing. He’s still so ridiculously athletic that I would think that he has a longer time to figure out an approach that utilizes his talent.

    Or he could just be a great athletic but only a decent/good ballplayer forever. Kinda reminds me of Adam Jones’ expectations vs results over his career.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — September 11, 2012 @ 2:13 am

  28. comp to Mike Cameron seems pretty apt.

    Comment by Stinky — September 11, 2012 @ 6:40 am

  29. This is a very lazy reply or you must be a racist Red Sox fan.

    Comment by deadeye — September 11, 2012 @ 8:56 am

  30. Could his increased aggressiveness be at least partly attributed to everyone telling him he’s not playing to his ability?

    Comment by 81 — September 11, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  31. BJ Upton is another Mike Cameron, talented, streakey, frustrating.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — September 11, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  32. Searching for meaning in randomness. He’s better than he was early. He’s not as good as he was late. His full seasonal line gives the best representation of who he is.

    Comment by Tim — September 11, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  33. “Rick Monday”? Yeah, let’s just start making players up!

    Comment by Dongcopter — September 11, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  34. The thing that BJ gets no credit for is his durability. It is tough to play on that concrete carpet as CC said repeatedly in his years there. I am afraid that the Rays will figure this out next season when the somewhat fragile Des Jennings takes over in CF.

    Comment by ttnorm — September 12, 2012 @ 11:19 am

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