It could be argued that B.J. Upton is getting so much money for his skillset that he could never technically be worth what the Atlanta Braves are paying him. But then again, that could probably be said for everyone.
Clayton Kershaw is the best and is awesome, but he isn’t worth the ridiculous sum he is getting paid — if we are honest. Still, he is that much better than everyone else. For Upton, at least the Braves are seeing him improving this season over his struggles from 2013.
When he arrived on the scene and hit well under the .200 mark for the season, they had no other option but to bench him. Unlike his fellow struggling teammate Dan Uggla, Upton remained respectful and understanding — at least publicly. That has led to him dealing with his struggles and working hard, and it is finally paying off.
Sure, the numbers won’t light the world on fire, but who cares? The Braves never needed the best Upton ever. They simply need him to play like himself and unlike last season, he is doing that this year.
The current 10-game winning streak is great news for the Braves. Upton has matched his career-high hitting streak, which also lets you know that he has never been a great average hitter. Most hitters who are thought of as good would have at least one streak longer than 10. More importantly than what his average is right now is the fact that the Atlanta lineup is working well behind him.
Someone once said that the leadoff man is a little overrated since that player only leads an inning off once, possibly twice per game, but as long as this hitting streak keeps going, Upton is going to get his swing going. It is inevitable that as the ball keeps finding a hole, Upton will find his stroke, get more comfortable than he has been in his Braves career, and finally remove himself from the speculation that the team should bench him.
As a matter of fact, it would be a big mistake to bench him at this point.
The proposed move of putting Evan Gattis in the outfield and starting Christian Bethancourt behind the plate while benching Upton makes zero sense now. Bethancourt isn’t going to hit much better than Upton is at any point. What they would really be doing in that situation is putting an unsure fielder in the outfield in replacement of a very good fielder.
Upton has earned the right to stay in the lineup. He is now officially not nearly as terrible offensively as Uggla.