What has gotten into Justin Upton?
The 25-year-old Atlanta Braves outfielder is off to arguably the best start in all of Major League Baseball this season, and maybe we are finally getting to see the potential that we all knew he had.
Let me put this into a little bit of perspective just in case you haven’t been tracking this campaign. So far, the Atlanta Braves have played 15 games. Over that time, Justin Upton has nine home runs. I know that it is virtually impossible to maintain this pace over an entire campaign, but if he was able to, he would completely demolish Barry Bonds’ single-season home run record by slamming 97 home runs.
On top of that, he has driven in 13 runs so far. Again, if we extrapolate this over the entire season, he would end up with 140 RBI.
This is the type of production that the Atlanta Braves were hoping for when they dealt for Upton this off-season. Last season was a bit of a struggle for him, and that was what made this trade possible. Generally, five-tool 24-year-olds are given all the time in the world to develop, but I have to admit that I was a little bit confused as to his aggressive sale.
Of course, he only hit 17 home runs and drove in 63 runs all of that year. His average dipped down to .280, and I think the fact that that potential I already mentioned was not shining through eventually frustrated the Arizona Diamondbacks.
What is interesting is that in 2011 hit .289 with 31 home runs and 88 RBI. Of course, having a down year is less than desirable, but he was only one year removed from an excellent season. For a young player in his mid-20s, that is often times to be expected.
Regardless of what Arizona was thinking at the time, the Atlanta Braves are certainly cashing in on this trade right now. There is no doubt that he will cool off, but for right now, it will be fun to see how far he can take this.