#8 Justin Upton LF
About two months after signing B.J. Upton to a five year contract the Braves decided to make it a family affair by trading for his younger brother, Justin. The hope is that having the two brothers together will drive them to compete more against each other. This may cause them to get on each other from time to time, but that’s all part of the nature of competition and brotherly love.
Justin Upton has spent his career so far being the superstar player for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Although that is not as much of a high-profile market as Atlanta there is still pressure to make the playoffs on that team almost every year. This gives Justin leadership experience unlike most players his age. Some people, such as Diamondbacks’ legend Luis Gonzalez, have said he is not a good leader. Whether this is an actual character flaw or simply a lack of understanding between him and Diamondbacks’ management is yet to be answered. One other concern that has been mentioned frequently is how Justin will handle the switch from Chase Field to the more pitcher-friendly Turner Field. This chart, when overlayed with Turner Field, should quell any concerns about Justin’s ability to produce home runs.
Justin had a successful Spring Training. He smacked six home runs in 75 plate appearances, some of which have been absolute bombs. Being in the middle of the order between B.J., Jason Heyward and a healthy Brian McCann should help this pattern of success continue. The two time All-Star will be looking to make a return to form and make a big impact on the Braves this season.
How troubling are Luis Gonzalez’s comments? Was it worth it to trade Martin Prado to complete the “Up-Up-Hey!”outfield? Which Upton will end up being the better addition to the Braves this season?
“Replacing a Legend” will conclude next week with underrated first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Part 1: Jason Heyward
Part 2: Brian McCann
Part 3: B.J. Upton
Part 4: Dan Uggla
Part 5: Andrelton Simmons