Tampa Bay Rays

2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 86: The Rarity of Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton

BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 08:  B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a three run homer in the second inning as Victor Martinez #41 of the Boston Red Sox defends on September 8, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Nick KappelAnalyst IIIMarch 16, 2011

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

B.J. Upton is perhaps one of the most polarizing players in fantasy baseball. While his power/speed combo is both rare and improving, Upton’s batting average is tough to stomach.

Even still, Upton is one of only two players (Michael Bourn is the other) to steal 40 bases in each of the last three seasons. Of the six players who’ve stolen at least 100 bases during that time, only Carl Crawford has hit more HRs (42) than Upton (38).

Furthermore, Upton’s once-thought plus-power has improved over the last three seasons:

  • 2008: 9 HRs, .128 ISO power
  • 2009: 11 HRs, .132 ISO power
  • 2010: 18 HRs, .187 ISO power

Yet despite this development, Upton has sacrificed his contact rate and batting average, leading to eye-popping strikeout totals:

Contact Rate:

  • 2008: 80.5%
  • 2009: 76.9%
  • 2010: 73.5%

Batting Average:

  • 2008: .273
  • 2009: .241
  • 2010: .237

Strikeout Rate:

  • 2008: 25.2%
  • 2009: 27.1%
  • 2010: 30.6%

Upton hit first, sixth, seventh and eighth last season as Joe Maddon tried to find the right spot for his center fielder. He’s currently penciled in as the No. 8 hitter this season, although that will surely change as Maddon tinkers with his new-look lineup.

Upton’s value will depend on where he hits, but recent trends suggest he won’t hit for a high average. Expect the 26-year-old to approach 20 HRs and 45 steals to go along with a .250 batting clip in 2011.

 PARHRRBISBAVG
2010 stats61089186242.237
3-year average62584136143.250
2011 FBI Forecast62080187045.249

 

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