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Sunday, March 17, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JUSTIN UPTON OUTFIELDER LOS ANGELES ANGELS

After missing virtually all of spring training games to this point with an injured knee, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton has been fully cleared to make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday versus the Colorado Rockies.  With the season just a few weeks away, it was very important for Upton to make his way back onto the field and so the risk in investing in him during drafts has been lessened as a result.  So with that out of the way, now it is time to dive back into Upton's profile in terms of 2019 fantasy baseball. 

When it comes to Upton and his numbers, few players and more stable.  While it is true Upton is aging a bit as he enters into the season at the age of 31, he remains on top of his game in coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him post:

.257
30 HR
85 RBI
80 R
8 SB
28.7 K/9
10.4 BB/9
.321 BABIP

Having extended his 30-home run campaigns to four in a row last season, it is easy to see that power is the most bankable commodity for Upton.  Even though he has dealt with a knee issue this spring, Upton has also been one of the most durable players in the game as he has logged 8 straight seasons of 600-plus at-bats.  The latter is nothing to sneer at since durability is such a precious and often overlooked aspect of evaluating a player and also on that front, we get a nice amount of counting numbers in runs and RBI for Upton.  So at the very least, you get three categories of terrific production from Upton on yearly basis and never really have to worry about him missing games. 

Now as far as the downside, we could be seeing the end of Upton as a runner as he had just 8 swipes last season which was down from 14 the year prior.  This would not be a total shock as Upton has passed the age of 30 when the steals begin to evaporate for all players and so it is not a smart idea to project that into his value in drafts this spring. 

Finally, the batting average for Upton has become a red flag of late as he has batted under .,270 in three of the last four seasons.  A lot of that has to do with Upton's horrific strikeouts rates which went up to 28.7 a year ago.  That is a very nasty number and will do damage to anyone's average.  Luckily, Upton draws walks (10.4 BB/9 last season) and also has decent BABIP's on a yearly basis which helped him from going into the .230 gutter.  Still, the average is a negative no matter how you slice it. 

When you combine all of the number, Justin Upton remains a top OF 2 and maybe a low-end OF 1 in fantasy baseball for 2019 but keep in mind he is getting a tad older and perhaps the injury woes this spring are a reminder of this. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .255 32 HR 89 RBI 93 R 7 SB  


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