B.J., Justin Upton Showing Struggles Are All in the Family

By Steven Whitaker
B.J. Upton Justin Upton Atlanta Braves
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Everyone knows that the Atlanta Braves had their worries in 2013 with B.J. Upton. People believed that everything would change in 2014 since he spent a lot of time in the off season working on his mechanics at the plate. He believed that when his stance was lower and more closed than last season, his timing would come back to what it once was. Well, that didn’t help so far.

With Fredi Gonzalez putting B.J. at the No. 2 spot in the lineup, he was supposed to be getting more pitches to hit with Freddie Freeman behind him. That hasn’t been the case because he has had 16 at-bats through the first four games of the season and struck out nine times. That’s no typo. He also just has one hit, giving him an astoundingly low average of .063. Yet, over half of his at-bats he has failed to put the ball into play.

It doesn’t matter where he is in the lineup, he’s not going to be a hitter anywhere close to what he was in Tampa. It doesn’t matter what kind of timing he develops over the course of the season, he can’t even put the bat on the ball to have a chance to get on base. It seems that the Braves have simply wasted $75 million and unless they find a very desperate team, they will be stuck with him for the remainder of that contract. What is making in worse for Braves fans is the fact that his brother, Justin Upton, appears to be a shell of himself this season also.

Justin has had 15 at-bats, one hit and seven strikeouts. Pretty much just as bad as his brother, yet this slump hasn’t come out of absolutely nowhere. After his extremely hot start in 2013, Justin pretty much slumped all summer and that has carried over to the 2014 season. If he can’t hit, the Braves’ lineup may be in some kind of deep trouble.

They lasted the 2013 season with two players not getting to .200, but they won’t be able to succeed at all with three players struggling. If they lose Justin to some serious slump, the team could find itself struggling to score any runs for their terrific pitching and have a deficit in the NL East division chase. When that happens, the players could start pressing even more, and that’s not something the Braves can handle.

Steven Whitaker is an Atlanta Braves writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CoachStevenWhit, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your circles on Google.

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