2010 Projections: Why B.J. Upton Will Bounce Back

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2010 Projections: Why B.J. Upton Will Bounce Back
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B.J. Upton was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the 2009 fantasy baseball season. There is reason to believe, however, that the 25-year-old will bounce back in 2010.

Nobody doubts his talent. Upton has season highs of 24 HRs, 44 steals, and a .300 average; he’s just never put it all together in one season. If he does, look out—that power/speed/average combo is top-20 material. 

While Upton’s 2009 totals – 11 HRs, 42 steals, .241 average – will turn many unforgiving owners away, his current ADP on Mock Draft Central is 58, and for good reason. Upton’s 2009 BABIP was just .310, a mediocre total considering his career .341 standard. His elevated fly ball percentages (40.3% in 2009, 34.6% career) suggest uncharacteristic struggles as well. With any luck, an average in the .270 to .280 range is within reach for 2010.

Upton’s power has obviously taken a hit, but his career HR/FB rate of 10.3 percent (6.8 in ‘09) is a reminder that 15 bombs aren’t out of the question in 2010.

The scariest part of Upton’s game lies within his stolen base totals. Despite posting a pathetic .313 OBP last year, the former No. 2 overall pick swiped 42 bases. If he reaches his career OBP of .352 in 2010, (and I believe he will) Upton may reach 50 steals.

It’s believed that Upton will begin 2010 batting sixth in the Rays’ lineup, a move which should relieve the pressure that hindered him as the team’s lead off hitter last season. With a repaired shoulder and an extra seven pounds of muscle, the elder Upton brother is primed for a bounce back season.

FBI Forecast: 550 at-bats, 90 runs, 15 HRs, 80 RBI, 50 steals, .276 average

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