Wednesday, June 5, 2013

B.J. Upton Breaking Out

Upton is putting his slow start behind him
After an abysmal start to the season for B.J. Upton, he finally seems to be getting his act together at the plate. After batting just .145/.230/.245 with 63 strikeouts through the end of May, Atlanta's new center fielder is showing signs of life in the batter's box . Since the calendar flipped to June, Upton has four hits, including a pair of home runs, and four RBI in four games to briefly silence those clamoring for him to be benched. Not coincidentally, Atlanta won all four tilts.

Obviously four games (2.5 percent of the season) is a small sample size and doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. But for the ever-streaky Upton, this mini-hot streak could be a sign that he's about to go on a tear. Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez gave him a few days off last week to clear his head, and so far the mental breather has proved beneficial for the slumping star.

I couldn't help but think of Dan Uggla, who joined the Braves as a free agent prior to the 2011 season and struggled mightily in the first half., batting .173/.241/.327 through the Fourth of July. But Gonzalez stuck with his struggling second baseman, and was ultimately rewarded when Uggla went off in the second half and finished with his typically strong power numbers.

Upton's in a similar boat; and I figured it was only a matter of time before the former first overall draft pick came around at the dish. Don't be surprised if he doubles his season home run total (he has six) by the end of the month and looks more like the player Atlanta thought they were getting when they signed him to the largest free agent contract in the organization's history.

And if he doesn't? Well, good thing the Braves have his more talented little brother Justin Upton.

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