On the surface, it should seem like the stars are aligned for Atlanta Braves outfielder B.J. Upton. He’s been reunited with his brother Justin Upton and will be sandwiched in the best offensive lineup of his professional career. He’s added no less than five home runs to his totals since 2009, culminating with a career-high 28 last season for the Tampa Bay Rays. While it’s not a top concern for most players when they change teams and venues, for Upton, it might prove to have significant impact on his power numbers.
A look at his splits last season shows the speedster totaled 17 bombs compared to his 11 on the road. Despite totaling just nine fewer at bats on the road, Upton notched 19 more strikeouts than when in the hitter-friendly confines of Tropicana Field. Needless to say, his OBP and BA both were far below his home numbers as a result. For owners expecting him to continue trending up in the power departments, they might be in for a rude awakening.
On the flip-side, Upton will be in a far better situation with the Braves this season. Not having Evan Longoria in the lineup for a bulk of the 2012 season left Upton on an island to fend for himself. That’s something which won’t happen now that his brother Justin, Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward are all around for support. He will still be the same player fantasy owners have grown accustomed to, but don’t fall into the trap of overvaluing his production because of his new surroundings.
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