When someone lists a few players that the Atlanta Braves can do without and does not include B.J. Upton in that list, questions are raised. It is for good reason that some wonder why Upton wouldn’t always be included on the list of players the Braves just don’t need. Honestly it is no one’s fault but Upton’s that he is thought of in that way and I’m sure he knows that. The simple fact is however that he is playing better for the Braves in 2014.
Last season he only scored 12 runs through the first two months of the season. This season he scored 22 through the same span. He has legged out 10 doubles this year compared to only 4 over the first two months last year. His walks and strikeouts are roughly the same but his batting average is not. He didn’t get out of the .140 range in the first couple of months last season while this year his current average is .207 and has been higher than that.
Add to those improved numbers that he had only three stolen bases through May last season and has eight through the first two months in 2014. He also has two in the month of June already. Upton is still not the best hitter on the team and we can all agree on that but he is not what he was last season. Watch his at-bats closely and you will see many more times when he is staying on the ball and hitting it to all fields.
There are a lot more line drives being hit than there were last year. He will always strikeout a lot but this year he is doing something he didn’t do all last year and that is have an impact on the game in a positive way. It might not happen but I would think it very possible that Upton’s batting average and OBP raise to his career averages by season’s end.