The Atlanta Braves outfield looks to be ridiculously good going into the 2013 season. They signed B.J. Upton to replace the departing free agent Michael Bourn and traded for his brother Justin Upton to complete the new outfield trio. On paper and in person the trio looks to be awesome and powerful. If we focus on the exchange of B.J. Upton for Bourn in center field however, it puts a different spin on things.
Bourn is an extremely productive player. His new team, the Cleveland Indians, are sure to find that out soon. He also had a very good 2012 season; good enough to receive a few MVP votes. Upton didn’t have his best season last year but was still very good. Between the departed Bourn and the newly signed Upton, who was more productive last season and who will be going forward?
First of all you have to see that they are very different players. Bourn is a top of the line-up catalyst and is as good as there is in the major leagues in that spot. Upton is a middle of the line-up power hitter with speed. Still, if we look at how many runs they each were responsible for, both scored and driven in, we can compare general productivity. Bourn was responsible for 144 runs crossing the plate in 2012, ninety-six of which he scored. Upton however was responsible for 129 runs and swung for a lower average by thirty or so points.
When you compare their 2012 seasons, it appears that Upton has a little work to do in order to be as productive as Bourn was last season. In reality it is possible that Bourn won’t even be as productive as he was last year, seeing as it was a contract year. Upton has his brother and Jason Heyward to push him to higher numbers as he gets into the thick of his prime. If he cuts down strikeouts and bring his average up, the Braves won’t miss Bourn at all.