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Atlanta Braves’ BJ Upton Frustrated with Platoon Role in Spite of Poor Numbers

August 26th, 2013 at 11:58 AM
By Andrew Auman

It is no secret amongst Atlanta Braves fan that BJ Upton has not exactly panned out this season as they expected him to, after signing the largest free agent contract in Braves history.

The 5 year, $75.25 million contract had many Braves fans excited in the off-season, but after a career worst season in almost every category, BJ has been relegated to a platoon role with Jordan Schafer in center field.

At the height of his career, BJ Upton was good for a WAR of 4.8 in his 2008 campaign with the Tampa Bay Rays, with a 15.2% BB rate and a 20.9% K rate.

While Upton has since been unable to match these numbers again in his career thus far, he's been good for a WAR of 3+ every season since, with slightly lower walk rates, and slightly higher strike-out rates.

Unfortunately, since his arrival in Atlanta, BJ Upton has put up career worst numbers in every measurable category. A MLB-lowest .182 has him batting well below any other major leaguer with 250 or more plate appearances. In addition, he has a career low -0.6 WAR, 9.6% BB rate, and a career-high 33.3% K rate.

While BJ Upton provides serviceable defense in CF, Fredi Gonzalez has decided to play the hot hand in Jordan Schafer, having dedicated a large portion of the season keeping BJ in the line-up in hopes of him breaking out of his slump.

Fredi's patience seems to have come to an end in BJ's case, as he now sees himself platooning, missing half of the 4-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

To add to his frustration, the platoon began in the beginning of August, traditionally the strongest month for Upton, where he has snapped many a cold streak in his career. "I think I kind-of have a track record of those being my best two months" said Upton in an interview with David O'Brien.

After losing Jason Heyward for the regular season (at minimum), Upton has been guaranteed at the very least a slight increase in playing time. Upton hopes to make the best of these appearances, and turn things around for the post-season, where he has more experience than many Braves on the current staff.

Also…

Photo Credit: BJ Upton, Atlanta Braves on Flickr by AshMarshall

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Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, BJ Upton, Fredi Gonzalez, Jordan Schafer, MLB, Tampa Bay

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