ESPN’s Keith Law Ranks Justin Upton as Best Player Under 25

It has been a nice couple of weeks for Justin Upton. After placing fourth in the NL MVP voting a few weeks back, ESPN beat writer Keith Law named the Diamondbacks outfielder as baseball’s top player under the age of 25 in an insider article that was posted on Thursday.

Here is a brief portion of what Law said about Upton.

Upton was an MVP candidate for most of the season until Matt Kemp pulled away in September (and the voters went all retro by deciding the MVP had to be on a playoff team, d’oh). He still has a significant amount of upside left as he continues to get stronger and to refine his approach at the plate. His walk rate slipped in 2011, but he dramatically increased his contact rate, and traded some ground balls (and double plays) for fly balls (and doubles and homers). He’s a five-tool player who would probably play center on some clubs, with several 30-homer seasons ahead of him; a .310/.400/.570 peak isn’t out of the question.

This is a pretty nice accolade for Upton from one of the best writers in the game and it really is hard to argue against Law. At 24, Upton is by far and away the best player on his list and has the biggest upside. Upton had a terrific 2011 campaign, but I don’t think he is anywhere close to reaching his full potential.

Two other D’Backs made Law’s list. Starting pitcher Daniel Hudson was placed at #34 while left fielder Gerardo Parra came in two spots behind the right-hander at #36. With the Diamondbacks stacked down in the minors, especially with starting pitching, J-Up, Huddy and Parra probably won’t be the last Diamondbacks to make this list in the future.

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