Understanding Upton: Who's Better, B.J. or Justin?

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 26:  B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during game four of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 26, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

So far this season, Justin Upton has outplayed his brother B.J. by leaps and bounds.

Why then, you might wonder, even ask a question whose answer seems so obvious?

It may not be as simple as you might think.

B.J. has struggled to hit .240 this season, while Justin has hit over .300 and blasted 20 home runs. But this could be a career year for Justin and an off year for B.J. You simply canno judge careers on the basis of a single season.

So which will turn out better in the long run?

In B.J.'s first full season as a major league starter, he put up stats similar to Justin's.

2007 B.J.: .300 BA, 24 HR, 82 RBI, 20 SB, 65 BB in 129 games

2009 Justin: .303 BA, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 16 SB, 46 BB in 105 games (as of Aug. 28)

Those stats are nearly identicalkeeping in mind Justin still has 33 games leftso before you consider Justin the better Upton, check back to these stats.

So now you'll concede they had similar rookie seasons. Now you're wondering how we can extrapolate from those to see which Upton will triumph.

Well, you can look at the fact B.J. had seven home runs in the 2008 playoffs. But you can also argue Justin is younger and may not follow the same path that B.J. and play horribly next year.

You should probably also note Justin has been plagued by injuries during his short career.

All things considered, B.J. will have the better career. The reason is simply because he has shown that even when in a slump, he can still make his presence felt by getting on base with walks and stealing bases. He has the potential for 30-home run power, but even if that power never reaches 30, he's still got a great swing.

While Justin may get the glory because he has more power, B.J. will do more to help his team win by creating runs, and those are the players that win games.

In the end, all any sport cares about is winning, and that's why I think B.J. will ultimately have the better career.

Either way, both these guys are young, and we are in store to watch two of the greatest careers of all time, and two players who could be the greatest brother combo to ever play the game.