On Justin Upton

A player with a lot of hype surrounding him after the numbers he put up last year, Justin Upton has been a bit of a disappointment this year. Before the year began, some fantasy guru’s were projecting the ever elusive 30-30 from Upton, hoping that his raw skills would shine through and get him to that promised land. It hasn’t happened, to say the least. Upton’s numbers have dropped off in every standard category, hurting owners who pounced on him early in drafts.

Upton’s biggest problem this year has been the strikeouts. Because he had always struck out more than an average player, we knew this could happen, but a K% over the 30% mark is scary. While his K% has risen, his Whiff% has fallen, a strange occurrence. Upton has actually done a better job making contact this year, and while he may be letting too many pitches go by, I’d say he’s in for a lowered K-rate next year.

While he’s struggled with the K’s, he could still be one of a handful of players that could end up in the 20-20 club this year. It’s going to take a small surge over these next couple of weeks, but Upton could do it and no one would be surprised. What worries me is his success rate on the basepaths, as it’s dropped all the way down to 68%. Obviously, that needs to improve next year.

Could his down year be a great thing for future owners? Definitely. He could easily bounce back next season, and put up numbers closer to his 2009 campaign. I’m thinking he’ll end the 2011 season with a .285/25/18 line, which is impressive, but not overly so. I don’t think predictions of a 30-30 season were off base, but they may have been a tad optimistic. Temper your expectations when it comes to Upton’s 2011, but don’t forget the promise he’s shown and the potential he has.

Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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13 years ago

Hopefully the shoulder issue isn’t the same as BJ’s, but I wonder if it’s genetic and if Justin will have to undergo surgery at some point as well.