3 Skills B.J. Upton Brings to the Atlanta Braves Lineup

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IINovember 29, 2012

3 Skills B.J. Upton Brings to the Atlanta Braves Lineup

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    It is being reported by multiple sources including ESPN's Jerry Crasnick via his Twitter page, that free agent outfielder B.J. Upton has signed a five-year deal with the Atlanta Braves.

    Reportedly the deal is for five years and $75.25 million, the richest contract ever handed out by the Atlanta Braves, carrying a $15.05 million average annual value.

    Upton represents the first major free agent to sign with a new team this winter.

    In Atlanta, Upton will replace Michael Bourn in center, who hit well for average, but didn't have much pop in his bat.

    Here are three skills that Upton brings with him to the National League East that will help the Braves immediately.

Elite Defense

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    Throughout his career, Upton owns a .989 fielding percentage.

    He owns a career 18.8 UZR (ultimate zone rating) with a lifetime 15.1 ARM (outfield arm runs).

    For those who are unaware, UZR, in the simplest of terms, calculates every aspect of defensive range and abilities, while ARM essentially measures how strong of an outfield arm a player has.

    While fans enjoyed some dazzling defense with Bourn in center, they won't feel a significant drop off with Upton taking over.

    Upton has tremendous speed, which will benefit him nicely while patrolling center at Turner Field.

Right-Handed Bat

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    Before signing Upton, the Braves' batting order consisted of just three right-handed bats to four left-handed bats, pitchers being a wild-card in that denomination.

    Having Upton helps to balance out the batting order.

    Looking at Upton's spray chart on ESPN's Home Run Tracker Website with a Turner Field overlay, the power he possesses appears to be no issue at Turner Field.

    All but one of his 28 home runs in 2012 would make it out of the park.

Hit for Power

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    Probably the biggest upgrade Upton has over Bourn is his ability to hit for power.

    Bourn had a career year in 2012, hitting nine home runs, finishing the season with 45 total extra base hits. On the  flip side, Upton had 60 extra base hits with, as noted before, 28 home runs.

    While Bourn hits for average, Upton is a far better slugger.

    At the end of the day, the Atlanta Braves knew who they wanted entering free agency and they got their man.