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Welcome to MLB Stardom, BJ Upton

Bill YadlonContributor IOctober 20, 2016

It is truly amazing what a great postseason can do for your image; just ask Carlos Beltran. But this postseason another five-tool star is born.

With seven home runs, tied for the AL record (Troy Glaus in 2002), BJ Upton has been a terror for both types of Sox this postseason. For those that closely follow the game, it seems BJ Upton has been on the radar for quite some time. Tampa Bay fans waited year after year for him to finally emerge like they expected him to when he was selected second overall in 2002. Let's take a quick look back at BJ’s journey to stardom.

Given the birth name Melvin, he soon became known as BJ. His father's nickname was Bossman, so he quickly became Bossman Jr., which clearly doesn't roll off the tongue as well as BJ.

Despite being the obvious best player in the draft he fell to second because of the Pirates' refusal to pay top talent—or draft well, for that matter.

Fielding was his Achilles' heel all throughout the minors. After making 56 errors in 2003 at shortstop he was shifted all over the diamond to find a position he could hold down.

He made his much anticipated MLB debut at the tender age of 19, going 1-for-3 with a single. He was sent down once again to settle down his fielding issues. Attempted moves to second and third base failed because of continued errors.  

Finally in 2007, BJ became a permanent fixture in the Rays' season. After beginning the season at second, he was soon injured and returned as the starting center fielder, where he remains to this day.

Some were impatient with BJ's development and were worried fielding issues would jeopardize his potential major-league career. But pure talent prevailed, and now you can find Upton roaming American League outfields and snagging fly balls no man should be able to reach.

His younger brother Justin was drafted first overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who clearly learned from the Pirates that you can't put a price on Upton family talent. He is now the starting RF for them. Like many young players, he shows flashes of brilliance with his power stroke but strikes out too much and doesn't hit for a high enough average.

With comparable skills and similar draft selections, these brothers are taking a career path similar to that of the first family of football, the Mannings. With BJ already establishing himself as a star like Peyton, one can only hope Justin follows suit like Eli and emerges just like his brother.

But that remains to be seen.

One thing is for sure: BJ Upton has become a household name and will continue to wow us for many years to come.

Welcome to MLB stardom, BJ Upton; enjoy your stay.

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