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A Closer Look: Diamondbacks Outfielder Justin Upton

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Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton was expected to show some growth in his power and speed tools in 2010 after he went 26-86-20-.300-.366-.532 in 2009. I was expecting him to go 35-20 this season but i am not so sure at this point. Upton is hitting just .242-.318-.424 with 10 HRs, 30 RBIs and 9 SBs this season which puts him on pace to go 26-79-24, which isn't bad, but fantasy owners expected more power and a much better BA on draft day.

Upton is walking at a 10% rate so far this season which is right around his career average. His BABIP is right around his career average at .336. His batted ball statistics are all around his career norms including his HR/FB%. So what is bothering Upton?

Upton's problem at the plate is that he is striking out almost 37% of his at bats this season vs a 26% K rate in 2009. Not helping matters is that he is increasingly swinging at pitches outside the zone. He is swinging at 26% of pitches outside the zone vs 24% in 2009, and is swinging at just 61% of pitches inside the zone vs 69% last year. Of the pitches he is swinging at outside the zone, he is only making contact with 52% vs 54% last year. What's more is that he is making contact at just 78% of pitches inside the zone vs 81% last year. Finally his contact rate on all pitches is only 69% vs 73% last year.

For Upton to turn things around this season, he will have to become more selective at the plate and swing at more ptiches inside the zone and less pitches outside the zone. Should he do so, he should bring down his K% and hopefully his BA and power will bounce back.