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8/25/1987 (29 y, 5 m, 25 d)
2005 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 1, Overall: 1, Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
$132.8M / 6 Years (2016 - 2021)
Upton, who has an opt-out clause in his contract after this season, will likely remain with Detroit in 2018 and beyond, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. (2/4/2017)
Justin Upton and Bad Luck on... Infield Hits?
Alex Chamberlain (RotoGraphs)
Early ADP Thoughts – Outfield, Part I
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
The Three, Four, and Five-Category Outfielders
Rylan Edwards (RotoGraphs)
This Justin Upton Looks a Lot Like Old Justin Upto»
Corinne Landrey (FanGraphs)
Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Kuhl, Bailey, Pollock, U»
Jeff Zimmerman (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
As older brother B.J. tumbled into the "frustrating enigma" group, the junior Upton climbed into the "budding superstar" category. Despite playing much of the season at the age of 21, Upton was a 20/20 player. As he matures as a base runner, Upton has the speed to steal 40 bases. Predominantly a fastball hitter, Upton struggled mightily with sliders, but he was able to stay back reasonably well on curveballs and change-ups. He absolutely crushed left-handed pitching in '09 with an OPS of 1.208. Formerly a high-school infielder, Upton made huge strides in the outfield and is becoming a five-tool threat (although he still makes too many errors in the field).
The Year Ahead:
Upton could easily develop into a perennial 30/30 threat and he could be a top-5 fantasy pick within two years. He's missed time each of the past two seasons due to oblique strains that are not overly serious but have a habit of reoccurring. Upton also occasionally suffers through mental lapses and has been known to turn on the cruise control at times. He is a threat to score 100 runs and drive in just as many, but he's hurt by the overall quality of the batting order around him. Upton also presses with men on base, and it gets worse when they're in scoring position. (Marc Hulet)
At this time last year, the younger Upton brother was one of the game's top up-and-coming talents, coming off a 4.6 WAR season that featured a .388 wOBA with 26 homers and 20 steals. A nagging shoulder injury to his non-throwing shoulder put a damper on his follow-up campaign in 2010, in which he dropped to a .349 wOBA with 17 homers and 18 steals. Still just 23, Upton is now the guy in Arizona's lineup with Mark Reynolds traded, and it's easy to dream on his talent. He hit about four percent more fly balls in 2010 than 2009 but saw his HR/FB ratio fall more than six percent, something that should even out going forward. Upton's talent is undeniable, and, although it's easy to be discouraged by his relatively disappointing season, count on 20-20 output in 2011 with the potential for a lot more. Very rarely does a player go from very good to elite over several seasons; quite often the jump happens all at once. You'll want Upton on your team when his light bulb goes on. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
You know a player is a special talent when a 3.1 WAR season is considered a disappointment. Upton battled a shoulder issue in 2010, but 20-20 is a safe bet in 2011, and the jump to superstardom can occur at any moment.
There are very few people who can claim, in all honesty, to have hit a ball into a restaurant. Fewer still have performed this feat of strength during the course of a Major League game. Of this exclusive club, Justin Upton is decidedly a part, confirming his membership on April 12, 2011, when he hit a Chris Carpenter offering into a Chase Field Fatburger location -- the third-longest home run of the season, according to Greg Rybarczyk's Home Run Tracker. That homer is an illustration of the sort of raw power Upton already possesses as he enters his age-24 season -- a tool he augmented in 2011 with an improved strikeout rate (18.7%, versus 25.9% career entering 2011). Upton also averages about 20 stolen bases per season and has demonstrated an ability to sustain higher-than-average BABIPs (.337 in 2402 career plate appearances now). He's really good and young, is the point. (Carson Cistulli)
The Quick Opinion:
Justin Upton is a legitimate five-tool player -- six-tool, if you count Fatburger-attacking as a tool. Also, on account of he's just 24, some improvement wouldn't be surprising.
You really can't blame the Diamondbacks for getting tired of waiting on Justin Upton. After all, the right fielder will be 25 at the beginning of the 2013 season and -- wait, what? I guess teams always want test the trade market, and it is better to trade a player a year early than a year late, but jettisoning Upton -- in a trade to the Braves centered around Martin Prado and Randall Delgado -- was a bit baffling. Yes, he had a down year in 2012 after being a legitimate MVP candidate in 2011, and the power drop-off was troubling. However, that 2011 performance -- .289/.369/.529 as a 23-year old -- is still on the books. So is his .300/.366/.532 performance as a 21-year old. Maybe we are too spoiled by the seemingly immediate super-stardom of the likes of Mike Trout. Upton is imperfect, to be sure. His contact skill is not great, and the power drop is worrisome. And now he won't have a nice home park to help. However, this would hardly be unique to a player still on the upswing of the aging curve. His contact is not getting worse, and compared to earlier in his career, his strikeout rate has improved. His walk rate is still good. He has also cut down on his pop-ups. Upton may not be a first-round pick in every league, but don't be one of those people suckered in by allegations of "inconsistency," he still has all the markings of a very good fantasy hitter. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Despite Justin Upton's struggles in 2012, do not be the Kevin Towers of your league and run his value down before you can get the right price for him.
Had the season ended with April, Upton would have been the best player in baseball. Alas, that is not the case and he dropped into a deep slump through May and June before rebounding to finish out the season. Upton has not been the most reliable fantasy asset year to year. He always teases elite upside, which has led to high acquisition costs, but he's put together just two outstanding seasons out of six. Upton is still young -- he's entering his age 26 season -- but it's probably time to stop dreaming on the upside. He was a bit whiff heavy in 2013, which led to a high 25% strikeout rate. His stolen base total dropped from 18 in 2012 to eight last season, and it's possible that his seasons of 20 stolen bases are a thing of the past. He bounced around the Braves lineup last season, and it will be interesting to see if Freddy Gonzalez gives him a more consistent lineup slot next season. That will impact his runs and RBI opportunities. (Brad Johnson)
The Quick Opinion:
Upton has been quite streaky throughout his career and 2013 was no different. He launched 20 of his 27 home runs in April and May, and provided minimal fantasy value over the season's other four months. Owners will hope for more of the good streaks in 2014 and perhaps a handful more stolen bases too.
After two impressive seasons with the Braves, Upton now moves to a power hitter's nightmare in San Diego. Even though he will be hitting in a pitcher paradise, Upton finished seventh in average home run distance last year, so he should still be able to muscle enough balls out of Petco Park to make him a high end outfield option in fantasy. The Braves were less willing to allow Upton to steal bases during his two year tenure in Atlanta, but he still stole 16 bags and was caught just five times over the past two years. While he has added some weight, he still has enough athleticism to steal bags and could push himself into double digits now that he is out of Atlanta. There has not been a single year since Upton's rookie season in which he did not either hit 20 home runs or go 15-15. His average should sit around the .270 and with the Padres new offense, he will likely avoid problems in the runs or RBI department as well. Upton has been a relative model of consistency on an annual basis even if he often goes through immense streaks and slumps during the season. (Ben Duronio)
The Quick Opinion:
Upton was very solid in his two years in Atlanta and should continue to be just as solid in San Diego even though the park is unfriendly to hitters. Draft the contract-year Upton with confidence.
Since his 2007 debut, only 16 hitters have generated more offensive production with as many or more plate appearances than Justin Upton. That he's still only entering his age-29 season underscores just how good of a career he has put together. Recently, he's more often making hard contact, hitting fly balls, and pulling the ball than in previous seasons. He's also making better contact, perhaps to compensate for zone contact skills that up-and-vanished three years ago, by hitting fewer and fewer pop-ups. Upton's batting average is routinely lackluster, but he's as good a bet as anyone for 25 home runs. As for the speed -- at this point, it's hard to say that he'll still burn on the basepaths in Detroit or if it was simply a walk-year mirage. As a Tiger, you could bump up his runs and RBI projections a few ticks given he'll hit at the heart of what projects to be at least a decent starting nine. Twenty-five home runs, (maybe) double-digit stolen bases and (maaaaaybe) a .260 batting average makes Upton a top-20 outfielder, and his consistent production makes him one of the more reliable ones at that. (Alex Chamberlain)
The Quick Opinion:
When it comes to Justin Upton, you know what you're buying, and you get exactly what you pay for. His consistently solid production -- 25-plus home runs while flirting with double-digit stolen bases -- makes him a no-brainer top-20 outfielder.
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Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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