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Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JUSTIN UPTON OUTFIELDER SAN DIEGO PADRES

The San Diego Padres are the story of the 2015 offseason so far, having completed a massive amount of trades that have completely reshaped the roster.  This is especially true when it comes to the team's lineup and their outfield as ownership green-lighted deals for Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, and Justin Upton.  The latter is the subject of our latest 2015 Player Analyzer as we continue to look ahead to the upcoming season. 

As we noted yesterday, Upton becomes the latest arrival for the Padres and potentially their biggest get due to the skills he brings and his still young age.  The former top pick overall in the 2005 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Upton has now been traded twice in the last three years despite the fact he will turn only 28 this August.  That is a puzzling fact when you consider Upton brings previous above-average power to the table as he comes off a 29-home run season with the Atlanta Braves where he also drove in a total of a career-high 102 batters.  Upton has gone for 25 or more home runs in four of the last six seasons, with his high being the 31 he smacked in 2011 while in Arizona.  Expecting 30 out of Upton this season would be foolish however due to the fact he goes to quite possibly the worst power ballpark in the majors in Petco Park.  Be that as it may, Upton should be a lock for around 25 home runs and 90 RBI, with the latter possibly approaching 100.  Home runs and RBI are the clear strengths of Upton as a fantasy baseball outfielder and is the prime reason you make an investment here anyways.

As far as the rest of the stat package is concerned, Upton figures to bat third or fourth with the Padres which means he should net 80 runs scored at the very least and likely more than 90.  Upton had scored 100 or more runs twice from 2011 through 2013 and hitting that mark is not out of the question this season either.  Bank on 90 and anything more will be a nice bonus.  In addition to the runs, Upton still possesses solid speed that has allowed him to steal as many as 21 bases in a season like he did in 2011.  However Upton has slid a bit there over the last three years, swiping 18, 8, and 8 bags respectively during that time period.  The Padres are not a team that has run much over the years and so expecting more than 10 is a bit optimistic. 

Finally we get to the batting average which has been the biggest challenge for Upton in his career.  An extremely high strikeout rate has always plagued Upton and it has actually gotten worse over he last three years.  He is a career .274 hitter due to that issue and has put up a .263 and .270 mark the last two seasons.  Petco Park will cause issues there as well so project something around .270 and hope for more there.

When you put it all together, the move to San Diego takes a homer or two away and about 5 RBI.  Atlanta was a prime pitching ballpark as well and Upton had his best power season when you combine his home runs and RBI in his entire career.  He qualifies as a low-end outfielder 1 due to his prowess in hitting home runs in today's pitching-dominated game.

2015 PROJECTION:  .272 27 HR 95 RBI 89 R 9 SB

 
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