Well, it doesn’t occur very often that a player that is second in the major leagues in strikeouts (74) can be the leader of an offense. Yet, when you look at the Atlanta Braves at the moment, Justin Upton is the straw that is stirring the middle of the team’s lineup. Yes, Jason Heyward is doing very well from the lead-off position in the past month, but the most consistent piece of the offense lately is Upton.
Even though his strike out number is tied with his brother that is hitting just a shade over .200, Upton is hitting .295 and leads the team in home runs, with 14. He’s known for his fast starts to seasons, and his May average is quite lower than his April average. After seeing the horrible season that he had after his awesome start to 2013, however, he hasn’t had the letdown that the Braves’ fans had to go through last season.
While he isn’t hitting as hot as he was in April, he is one of the most consistent bats in the lineup. With B.J. Upton doing his thing that the Braves are getting used to, Freddie Freeman struggling like we haven’t seen him do in his career, and Chris Johnson coming back down to Earth and hitting like he has his whole career, the team needs someone to hit. The only player in the middle of the lineup to give that team a boost on a day-to-day basis is Upton. While Evan Gattis has hit better than some expected him to in his first season behind the plate, Upton has had more chances with runners in scoring position and has delivered just as much as the young catcher.
While the team is trying to make the playoffs for a third year in a row, the offense is struggling just like they did throughout the 2013 season. While Upton can’t carry the team all by himself, he is trying his best to hold them above water until the team’s other stars can come back strong. If he can hit .270 the rest of the season, and Freeman starts hitting like we all know he can, the team has a much better chance of making a run into the 2014 playoffs.