The Upton brothers, BJ and Justin, came into the league with extensive publicity and while performing at a high level have yet to live up to expectations. Is 2011 the year one or both of the Upton brothers puts it all together and turn into a true star? Or is another season of dashed hopes for fantasy owners in store?
More after the jump...
BJ, the one whose acronym stands for Bossman Junior (seriously, look it up) appears to have gained back some if not all of the strength he lost to a shoulder injury that required surgery. The injury seems to be to blame for his low 08-09 HR totals so as long as it doesn't return he should give us something near 20 HR. If only he could regain some of the contact skills he once had (not that there was much there to begin with), he could bring that AVG back up to respectability. With the high number of strikeouts and rising flyball tendencies the outlook on his batting average isn't bright but the flyballs should at least add to his HR totals. He has a shot at 20-40 and there is always hope for a 2007-esque BABIP fueled run at .300. BJ still shows a lot of promise. Don't forget the "older" Upton is still only 26 this season. Few player have his power and speed combo but until he gets the Ks in order he'll never live up to the potential his tools show.
The younger of the two, Justin, has as many tools as Bob The Builder and brings more upside potential having been compared to the likes of Gary Sheffield. Much like his brother, Justin has struggled to make contact and has been bothered by a nagging shoulder injury. He hasn't required surgery but it's something to keep an eye on as his power was sapped toward the end of the year. He managed to make better contact toward the end of the season so if that carries over and his shoulder is healed he could be in line for a big season. A lot of ifs but he's young and has the pedigree that it seems like it's only a matter of time before it all clicks. Watch to see if he shows power in spring training because if it's lacking it could be a sign of the injury and may mean an early end to the season. If the shoulder is healed then watch out cause he has 30-20 upside. I have high hopes for Upton but my expectations are tempered since he has a few areas of his game that need refinement before he becomes elite. It may not come this year but a break-out should be just around the corner for an Upton.
This post is dedicated to my brother. Happy Birthday Curtis! I wouldn't be writing about my passion if I hadn't spent so much time in my room studying baseball statistics trying to avoid ass kickings.