With the recent slate of injuries to the Atlanta Braves‘ pitching staff, the offense becomes even more important entering the 2014 season. If the Braves want to win games, they’ll have to break out the bats, because the dominant pitching from a season ago won’t be there due to the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. This means players such as Justin Upton need to step up their production in 2014. However, after a poor showing in Spring Training so far from Upton, the Braves need to be concerned.
The outfielder got off to a hot start a season ago after coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but his numbers started to fall off as the year went on. He finished his 2013 campaign with a .263 batting average, 27 home runs and only 70 runs batted in. These numbers look decent until you break them down and see that Upton hit 12 of his 27 home runs in the first month of the season. He also had 19 RBIs at this point as well, which indicates that Upton’s season was really a disappointment considering where he started.
He’s not showing much improvement in Spring Training either. Upton had another poor showing with the bat, and finished the day by going 0-for-3 from the plate against the St. Louis Cardinals. After today’s terrible performance, his batting average for the spring sits at a pathetic .143. What’s even worse is that he’s not showing any kind of power with his bat, too. Upton has only four hits, and of those four hits, only one has been a double. Besides that, the rest of them have been singles, but what’s worrisome is that he’s failed to hit one home run.
For a guy who’s known for his power, I hope this is not a sign of things to come. It may only be Spring Training, but at this point, you would expect to see some kind of progress from Upton. He’s far too valuable to the Braves’ success entering the 2014 season to not be able to produce. Especially with the recent slate of injuries to starting pitchers, he becomes even more important because the offense will be needed if Atlanta is going to overcome a weaker pitching staff.