B.J. Upton Will Go by Melvin This Season, Braves Executive RevealsFebruary 23, 2015
The Atlanta Braves outfielder formerly known as B.J. Upton will instead be addressed as Melvin Upton Jr. for the 2015 MLB season and beyond. Longtime team executive John Hart confirmed the switch, per Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Schultz also provided visual proof of the change:
According to the Braves' team page, Upton's full name is Melvin Emanuel Upton. Back in 2007, ESPN's Bomani Jones provided an explanation for how he got the nickname "B.J":
When Manny Upton was growing up, his father called him Bossman. The nickname was so closely attached to him that his high school coach suggested he name his first son B.J.—Bossman Junior.
So the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' starting second baseman goes by B.J., even though his birth certificate says his name is Melvin.
The younger Upton hasn't provided any reasoning for the switch just yet, but MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported that all will be explained when Upton arrives to Braves camp.
The 30-year-old is coming off one of the worst full seasons of his career. He had a .208/.287/.333 slash line to go along with 12 home runs and 35 runs batted in.
According to Fangraphs, Upton's 0.4 WAR was an improvement over 2013, but it still drew a lot of ire among Braves fans, mostly because of his massive salary. Upton will earn $14.45 million in 2015 and then roughly $32 million over the following two years.
Perhaps a new name will mean a clean slate for Upton, and he can return to something resembling the more productive version of himself we saw on the Tampa Bay Rays.