Posts tagged ‘B.J. Upton’

The Not-So-Pretty Early Numbers

Runs Scored (6) – 30th

AVG (.138) – 30th

OBP (.237) – 30th

SLG (.260) – 30th

OPS (.497) – 30th

wOBA (.222) – 30th

wRC+ (35) – 30th

fWAR (-0.7) – 30th

K% (25.2) – 28th

The “power” hitters on the team (Evan Longoria, Manny Ramirez, Dan Johnson, Matt Joyce) are hitting a combined .064/.137/.106 in 47 at-bats.

B.J Upton has been on-base 4 time and been caught stealing or thrown out 3 times.

Starting pitchers have a combined 5.06 ERA and only one Quality Start.


April 6, 2011 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Why Not Leadoff With Manny Ramirez?

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

It doesn’t matter where I hit. I’m Manny Ramirez, so it doesn’t matter.” – Manny Ramirez on (Ian Browne, 05/15/2005)

Rays manager Joe Maddon had new offensive weapon Manny Ramirez in the leadoff spot yesterday to get him at-bats in early before the weekend. This launched a run of jokes and actual misunderstandings about what a leadoff hitter should be when it was announced.

A lot of tweets joking about Manny’s ability to bunt for hits and steal bases were made, and it got me realizing that a lot of people do not understand what a leadoff hitter should be.

This same kind of thing happened last year when Maddon decided to bat John Jaso in the leadoff spot. You would have thought people actually believed that Joe Maddon lost his mind and needed to find it. Maddon proved to be correct when Jaso finished the season leading all players with a .380 OBP from the leadoff spot.

In a twitter conversation with R.J. Anderson and a few others there does appear to be growing concern among some that Jaso could see some regression if he does not learn to hit for higher than a .270 AVG that is loaded with mostly singles. If he cannot then Major League pitchers will catch on and do nothing but throw him strikes, forcing his hand at putting more balls in play (career .281 BABIP) and reducing his walk rates, which he lives by. If this happens he may be dropped to the bottom of the Rays order.

B.J. Upton has the leadoff spot against left-handers secured but struggled mightily against right-handers. So who will leadoff against right-handers if Jaso does regress? Ben Zobrist is a great option but why not Manny?

Over the past three seasons Manny Ramirez has posted a .428 OBP against right-handed pitchers as opposed to a .396 OBP against left-handers, not that there is anything wrong with that. Last year was his worst of the three seasons and he still posted a .404 OBP against RHPs.

Many’s power is on the decline with his ISO going from .270-to-.241-to-.162 from 2008-2010. Why not utilize his best weapon right now? Contrary to popular belief and what Mitch Williams may say on MLB Network, the leadoff spot is not reserved for speedy slap hitters who force the thirdbaseman in because their bunt is more potent a weapon than their power. The leadoff spot is meant to give high percentage on-base players a spot where he can get the most chances to get on-base.

Maddon’s decision to bat Manny leadoff was said to get him early at-bats but who knows, maybe we will see Manny bat there in the regular? If there is a manager out there that will bunk conventional wisdom it’s Joe Maddon and Manny was right in 2005, it doesn’t matter where he hits, and that includes leadoff.

March 12, 2011 at 9:02 am 3 comments

2011 Rays Projections: B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton might possibly the hardest player on the Rays to project. A player capable of putting up an on-base percentage above .380 with 20+ homer and 40+ steal capabilities. The steals are a virtual lock but the power and on-base skills are hard to predict.

Since 2007, Upton’s first full season, his OBP has seen major declines. He posted an outstanding .386 OBP in 2007 and .383 in 2008 but well below-average .313 in 2009 and .322 in 2010. His average has also dropped every season (.300-.273-.241-.237).

Parts of Upton’s problems have been that he cannot catch up to above-average fastballs. It’s obvious to the naked eye and in his stats. If you take out his 2007 season where he posted an amazing +23.8 wFB he stands at -13.3 wFB. Yes, it is a running stat, but it’s still below average. In fact he sits below average against the slider (-17.4) and the cutter (-6.4). Upton only seems to flourish against softer stuff. He owns above-average career marks in wCH (11.3), wCB (10.3), and wSF (4.6).

Two more problems have been contact and inability to hit right-handers. Upton set career highs in O-Swing% (25.3%) and SwingingStrike% (12.0%). He also hit a dimal .218/.294/.371 in 413 plate appearances against right-handers with a 34.3% K-rate.

On the bright side, Upton has seen increases in ISO the past three seasons (.128+.132+.187), hits left-handers very well, and always adds value with his glove. But due to his inconsistencies I could not project totals for him that I myself believe are attainable. Here are his projected numbers for 2011:

 Stat  Total
 AVG  .248
 OBP  .331
 SLG  .435
 OPS  .766
 Plate App.  628
 At-Bats  556
 Hits  138
 Homeruns  18
 Doubles  42
 Triples  4
 BB  68
 SO  153
 SB  44
 UZR  +3


At first glance those numbers don’t jump out at you and scream excellence, but compared to position they are actually very good and could net him in the range of 3.4-3.7 fWAR depending on replacement level for next year.

Again, the hard part about Upton and doing these projections is that you know he has the ability to post an fWAR around 5 but whether it’s his offense, his defense, his lack of hustle, or whatever, he has yet to reach the 5 fWAR mark. Will this be the year he does? I’d like to think so, at least not until he makes adjustments and learns how to hit the fastball again. I have to be realistic with Upton and the projected stats are plenty to be happy about, especially when you know he has the ability to outperform them.

February 18, 2011 at 10:27 am 1 comment

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