Drafted 1st by the Rays (2nd overall) in spring, 2002, at 17 years old; made his major league debut at 19, on August 2, 2004, after less than two seasons in the minors ... the youngest player in the major leagues in 2004; originally played 2nd base ... and led the majors in errors at that position. So ... he was switched to centerfield.
His "prime" (at least in terms of performance) was probably in 2007 when he had his "career" year.
Probably a case of "Too much, too soon!" (Which might also end up being the case with Moore.)
Ok let's just get rid of him like we did Josh Hamilton. I am sure that is the smart thing to do.
We have all seen what Upton can do. With a little consistency he becomes a 30/30 player easy with 100 RBIs per year. Yeah that's what we should give up. Offensively, Upton is one of the better CFs. Defensively, he makes hard plays possible.
The prime of most players occurs at the age of 29-31. It is the period where they are most apt physically and mentally. Career years do not always happen during the prime years.
What everyone here is moaning about is consistency. It also bugs me, but it is no reason to let go of a 5 tool player.
Look how you had to pick all stars to prove that Upton was not doing enough. Right there you acknowledge Upton is a better than average player. With more work he becomes a potential all star that is a 30/30 guy.
Everyone holds him to a higher level because he started at a young age. Fact is, there is no one within the system that can replace him. The best option is Victorino which would be counter productive. Or we can move Desmond to center full time and sign a left or right fielder power bat. And the quality of corner outfielders was not available last offseason.
Yeah, well, the other night ... he "drove in" the winning run by hitting into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded! Typical ... and vintage ... Upton!
And ... "physical" prime might occur between 28 and 31 ... but ... with a lot of these guys ... it's "mental" and "maturity" prime that finally begins to make the greatest contributions to a solid career. And ... it still takes a high degree of personal effort, the willingness to ALWAYS be learning, and a tendency towards coachability.
Your comment ... "get down to reality" ... is the whole, entire, complete, unabridged answer to "The B. J. Upton Riddle"!
I'd bet the kid hasn't had a day's worth of "reality" as far as baseball goes since the day he played in his first T-ball game!
It's too late for him here. He needs a new environment, new people around him, a set of much more realistic expectations ... and ... most importantly ... a new realization on his part that he's NOT capable of being another Hamilton ... nor even a Granderson!
And the fact that he is only 27-years old simply means that he's clearly still young enough to significantly benefit from "a new start".
Another excellent comment ... "delusional Rays fans"!
It's those "delusional" expectations ... and putting him into the big game maybe too far BEFORE he was MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY ready for it ... and "delusional" not just by the fans ... but ... by the Rays organization, too ... that I think have probably done the guy in at this point. It could simply be that he is what he's shown himself to be thus far ... nothing more ... nothing less. (And ... now in his ninth season ... he's been consistent! What you've seen is what you get!)
Often poor positioning ... slow start out of the box ... often runs poor routes to the ball ... not as good on balls over his head as he believes himself to be ... extremely erratic at throwing ... and a penchant for poor baseball decision-making all-around.
Offensively ... and his situational hitting stats clearly prove the point ... his performance at the plate gets worse-and-worse as the pile of chips gets bigger-and-bigger (the more the outcome of game is on the line and the later in the game).
Over the past three or four seasons ... I've never seen him rated higher than the 9th best (out of 14) among regular starting centerfielders in the AL. At BEST ... his eight prior years of stats show him to be an all-around "average" (or slightly below) centerfielder.
So we are back where we started...who do we replace him with? Kotchman can't play center. Your assessments always have one thing in common. They focus on what players have done in the past, not what they will do in the future.
Here are the facts: His career OBP is .342. Even though he is hitting for a low average, he is getting on base. His 162 game average is at 40 stolen bases. He is going to help Evan and Pena see more fastballs while on base. He gets to more fly balls than other centerfielders because he knows how to play shallow. He is going to bring in runs. He is becoming a situational hitter and is currently leading the AL in Sac Flies.
When Longoria gets back Upton is going to get hot again. He has so much potential and just letting him go without a backup plan is just dumb. (Sam Fuld is not a back up plan, he is a pinch runner).
Well, after eight seasons, you can continue to believe in Upton's "potential" if you choose. For me, he's simply a mediocre player who, excepting during the 2007 season, has never evidenced the potential some claim to see in him. As I've said ... WHEN does enough become enough?
And, you're definitely on the wrong track on his situational hitting. In fact, his situational hitting record for seven of the last eight years is clearly atrocious ... and ... in the simplest of terms ... the more critical an at bat is ... the more likely he is to fail to produce. This season thus far ... clearly out of character compared to his prior stats ... he HAS driven in a tying run with a sacrifice fly ... and ... he has driven in what amounted to two winning runs with sacrifice flies. This is totally at odds with his record over seven of his last eight seasons. More in line with his routine ... with the bases loaded and no outs two nights ago ... in an obviously critical situation ... he hit into a double-play ... during which the runner on third scored ... and that was his third "game-winning hit" of the season!
So ... while you continue to have high expectations and "hope" for the future for Upton ... my feeling is that, if the rumors were true, he should have been traded to the Nats last summer for a middle-reliever ... and I would deem it very unfortunate if the Rays were to resign him out of free agency at the end of this season. For me, enough is enough. Give the guy a change of scenery and personnel to see if he can improve his game under different circumstances ... and, next season, let's make sure to give someone else a chance to play centerfield for the Rays.
Obviously, there's very little chance anything will change right now given that jennings and guyer are on the DL ... UNLESS ... there's some ulterior motive in the fact that the Rays went after Rich Thompson ... who has played ONLY centerfield during his 13 years in the minors! They apparently SPECIFICALLY sought out an experienced "centerfielder" ... but ... to what end? Of course ... given the fact that injuries have taken their toll all around ... maybe they're just trying to cover their butts in the event that Upton should get hurt ... or ... maybe they have another reason for specifically seeking out a centerfielder. (???)
(And ... forgetting about all the injuries now involved here ... pre-season ... I would have been perfectly happy with Jennings in center and Fuld in left ... or even vice versa ... and I think Guyer will ultimately become a more than satisfactory extra outfielder. But ... unfortunately ... all three have landed on the DL! So ... it looks like Joyce-Upton-Zobrist will be out there for a while ... with Thompson becoming the utility/extra outfielder.)