After 2013, the Atlanta Braves were thinking twice about the deal that they made to bring B.J. Upton to the richest contract in franchise history until this past offseason. At the time of his signing, Upton was leaving the Tampa Bay Rays after a number of years in which he helped them become a very relevant team.
Last season, Upton was supposed to be a key part of the lineup that was on a record-breaking pace at the early points of the season. However, the team got very little out of him, as he struggled and never quite made it to .200 nor hit close to the 20 home runs the team thought he could.
So far this spring, Upton has shown the team that his swing may have a chance to turn around this season. To this point, he’s hitting .267 with 30 at-bats with two doubles.
The troubling stat this spring for Upton has been his strikeout numbers. He has shown no slowing down of the rapid number of strikeouts he will incur. At this point, through his 30 at-bats, he has eight hits and 11 strikeouts. That means that exactly half of the times he has stood at the plate and gotten out, he has struck out.
He has always been a high strikeout player and actually struck out less in 2013 than he did in his past four seasons with the Rays. He also had almost 70 less hits than he tallied up in 2012.
For Upton, this spring is important for him to show the team that he can get more balls to fall in, hit for a better average and get on base more than he did last season. If he can simply get on base, he can cause trouble for teams on the base paths. Let’s just aim for getting about .200 first, though.