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Thursday, June 27, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JUSTIN UPTON OUTFIELDER ATLANTA BRAVES

Time flies when your having fun.  You would get a collective nod of the head from the fraternity of Justin Upton fantasy baseball owners as we sit here getting ready to hit the halfway mark of the season.  After opening up the year as flat out the most dominant power hitter in the game in April and appearing to finally fulfill all of the outlandish expectations attached to his name, Upton proceeded to turn ice cold almost overnight and carry his struggles through two full months of games.  Put it all together and what you have is a classic case of a guy who has taken his owners on an extreme roller coaster ride of production from one side of the ledger to the other.  So with that said let's take a closer look at Upton and where he currently stands as July beckons.

First let us go back to that glorious month of April when Upton began the season on fire and carried it through the next four weeks in spectacularly great fashion with his home run swing.  Altogether Upton would bat .298 with 12 big home runs and 19 RBI when the calendar flipped to May and it certainly looked like he was ready to make the leap to stardom that he hinted at during his stay with Arizona.  Well Upton didn't go along with the script as May became a complete about face in production, with opposing pitchers no longer feeding him the fastballs that he was routinely sending over the fence the prior month.  The always aggressive Upton than began piling up the strikeouts which had been a decent-sized issue in the past and his numbers began to tumble.  May would see Upton hit a woeful .211 with only 2 home runs and 10 RBI.  June got even worse as Upton continued to whiff at an alarming rate and as we head into Thursday night's games, was hitting only .210 with one single home run for the month.  Put it all together and Upton currently stands at a collective batting line of .241 with 15 home runs and 6 stolen bases which are numbers you would expect out of his brother B.J.  Clearly Justin's owners are beyond frustrated at how things have turned out but the player himself is clearly to blame here.  Continuing to swing at everything and anything thrown his way, Upton's strikeout ways are killing his batting average and reinforcing pitchers to stop throwing him fastballs.  Until Upton starts to make inroads there, his struggles will continue.  While some suggested selling high back in April, Upton's trade value has sunk so low that you would be getting pennies on the dollar if you did swing a deal.  The holes in Upton's swing are just too great right now to think he will automatically turn back into the hitting monster he was back in April.  While the power is terrific and the potential great, Upton continues his pattern of letting his owners down going back to 2010.  His brother has made a career out of doing such a thing and so that makes it all the more concerning.

All in all I still like the ability of Upton to be a big time fantasy baseball outfielder but his star is fading the longer his struggles go on.  At this point he has to be graded as nothing more than an outfielder 2 which is a letdown from what we all envisioned he could be when he career got startted.

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