Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shelton on Upton

http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/article1026505.ece

This just puts in print what we've all been thinking this entire season. Some of us famously bashed Upton profusely in the months leading into the 2007 season, and he went on to put up very nice numbers that year. Last year he dropped back off, but his postseason made us all quickly forget. Same goes this season, save June when he was player of the month.

BJ's career has been a roller coaster. Drafted as a SS, later tested the waters at 2b, and settling in at center field. At the time he landed in the OF it was very disappointing in light of the logjam in the OF (Crawford, Baldelli, Young, Dukes, Hamilton, and then Upton). His 2004 call up for 45 games was a disappointment, but at the age of 19 that shouldn't have been surprising as it was a bit premature. By the time we saw him again two years later he had been grouped together with Young and Dukes in the papers for their antics in Durham. Then you had the benchings from Maddon for not hustling.

From BJ's point of view you can understand the frustration. His career hasn't gone as smoothly as Crawford's. I think Maddon probably did right by giving him a lot of time this year to turn it around. The guy needs stability. But now it appears maybe that stability should be at the bottom of the order.

There's really no telling how his future will turn out. If BJ turns into a regular .240 hitter that strikeouts a lot, but plays amazing defense and steals tons of bases, perhaps that would be in the Rays best interest. It could lower his market value, and justify his slot in the 9 hole, making him cheap enough to retain.

It is interesting to look at BJ's draft class
http://www.mymlbdraft.com/2002/

As the second pick overall it's pretty obvious why expectations are high. Other names that stand out

Zack Greinke (underachiever)
Prince Fielder - Best player in the first round
Jeff Francis - spotty at best
Jeremy Hermida - Giant bust.
Joe Saunders - Nice selection
Khalil Greene - Horrible
Scott Kazmir - great until this year
Nick Swisher - solid player
Cole Hamels - excellent
Matt Cain - coming back around
Loney, Span, Guthrie, Francoeur, and Blanton - all servicable major leaguers.

Career stats per baseball-reference.com
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/u/uptonbj01.shtml

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