T.B. Rays' Upton, The Next Willie Mays In Centerfield?

Pete HightmanContributor IApril 18, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 18:  B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a solo home run against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning of game six of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 18, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Is B.J. Upton the next Willie Mays?

I know it sounds crazy, but if you happened to see a couple of his catches this week, you might want to give the idea some thought. 

B.J.'s speed enables him to play a VERY shallow centerfield, which gives him a lot of opportunities to go back on some balls hit directly over his head. Twice this week he has made sensational catches; Both reminded me of Willie Mays.

I had the pleasure of watching Willie play centerfield at Candlestick as a young boy. I'll never forget it.

Now, on to B.J. Upton.

Monday night against the Yankees, B.J. made a running, over-the-shoulder catch two steps from the fence. He held onto the ball after bouncing off the fence.

Friday night against the White Sox, he made a similar high-light-reel grab to rob Paul Konerko of a double.

If you haven't seen these catches, you are missing something.

I know I am going out on a limb here, but if B.J. continues to play centerfield like he has this past week, he could become the best ever to play the position.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like
slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!