All the focus has been on B.J. Upton‘s struggles, but B.J. isn’t the only Upton struggling. Brother Justin has cooled off considerably since his fast April start.
Justin won the April National League Player of the Month, mainly on the strength of his 12 home runs. He also had a lofty .402 on-base-percentage and scintillating .734 slugging percentage.
Since then, Justin Upton has been mediocre or worse at the plate. When Freddie Freeman was on the disabled list, teams were pitching around the younger Upton. But Freeman has been back a few weeks, and Justin has been getting good pitches that he has missed.
Justin hit a paltry .211 in May, with only 2 home runs and 10 RBI. Upton’s slugging percentage, only .327, was more like a utility infielder, than a power-hitting outfielder.
The past two weeks have been even more difficult for Justin Upton. In 45 at bats, Upton has only 7 hits, with 0 home runs and only 1 RBI. His line is .171 average, .244 on-base-percentage and a miniscule .195 slugging percentage.
Upton’s numbers get even worse when you look at the past week. In 20 at bats he has 2 hits, with 0 homer runs and 0 RBI.
It is hard to say if B.J.’s struggles have had an impact on Justin. Probably the only ones that really know are the Uptons. Or maybe B.J.’s struggles are affecting Justin, but he’s not telling anybody. Or maybe both Upton’s struggles are mutually exclusive. Whatever the answer, it is a fair question to ask whether B.J.’s struggles are affecting Justin.
Baseball is a skill sport, not an effort sport like football. In football a player can listen to a couple Knute Rockne speeches, have his coaches jack him up, get slapped upside the head by his teammates, and then go out and knock people on their butts.
Baseball, like golf, is more fundamentals and repeating the proper mechanics. Both sports have the focus component, but I don’t think that the Upton brother’s struggles are lack of focus.
What is perplexing is that Jason Heyward, the Braves other starting outfielder, and good buddy of the Upton’s, is also struggling. Are they all drinking the same sport drink? Or is it the curse of Martin Prado?
It is going to be interesting to see how things play out in the Braves outfield as we move forward. Hopefully all three will start hitting soon and this discussion will be all forgotten by the All-Star break as if it never happened.