A couple nights ago, I spent $16 on Lastings Milledge only to bow out on Justin Upton at $15. My thinking was two-fold.
1st, Milledge offered 20+ SBs and similar HR production in 2008. 2nd, the Arizona Diamondbacks do not steal bases so any projection of 10+ SBs for Upton overlooks this managerial fact. Nevermind, Upton swiped just one bag in 2008 with two caught stealings.
Those two assumptions in hind sight were good enough, but certainly not 100% perfect. Upton managed 40 extra base hits in 356 ABs while Milledge managed 40 in 523. The fact Milledge hit one fewer HR than Upton was a reflection of ABs.
The crux of panning my choice rests on Milledge out-producing Upton in three of the other four categories. Batting lead-off should help Milledge score more runs. It will result in fewer RBIs, though.
AVG should favor Milledge as Upton struckout 121 times versus 93 for Milledge. Barring a dramatic improvement in contact rate, Upton will be stuck languishing in the .250 area.
Finally, there is no debate that Milledge will steal many more bases than Upton. In 2008, the score was 24 to 1, and Milledge's move to the top of the line-up was made explicitly to give him more chances to run. Upton was caught stealing on 80% of his attempts. I see no way the D'backs give him any green lights.
Is this enough to have favored Milledge over Upton?
Who would you prefer to have in 2009?
OF Justin Upton - the has to be fire in the smoke of love the baseball punditry blows. (60 votes)
OF Lastings Milledge - With 20+ SBs and hitting lead-off, he should make-up for any power differences. (62 votes)
122 total votes