We’ve seen this story before, last year as a matter of fact, when Atlanta Braves slugger Justin Upton gets off to a very hot April start.
Last year, Upton’s first with the Braves, Upton exploded in the month of April, hitting 12 homers, all while hitting .296 with a 1.136 OPS. This season has been productive as well as Upton has hit .288 with eight homers through May 5, posting an impressive 1.048 OPS through the month of April.
Do yourself a favor and trade him now.
For one, his value won’t be any higher.
Secondly, there are far too many signs that Upton is going to come crashing down.
Last year after his torrid first month, Upton still turned in a productive season, hitting .263 with an .818 OPS, but given his start he had to be viewed as a disappointment the rest of the season. His OPS almost dipped under .800 and he only hit 15 more homers the rest of the season and managed to drive in only 70 runs on the year.
This year the signs are more troubling.
Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez moved Upton up into the two-hole as opposed to his normal clean-up spot prior to Monday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals and the slugger responded by striking out four times in four at-bats.
Upton now has the worst strikeout rate of his career (34.6%) and is mired in a 1-for-15 slump with 11 strikeouts during that timeframe.
In addition, his current .400 BABIP is not sustainable, so I anticipate a big slump coming for Upton, if it hasn’t started already. Throw in the fact that his HR/FB ratio is currently sitting at 27.6 percent and you have to expect a regression, especially considering he has put up a 14.8 percent mark in that department throughout his career.
He has never been a guy that has posted a strong contact rate but his current 68 percent contact rate is abysmal and won’t support the numbers he will need to put up to support where you drafted him.
Everything about Upton’s start to the season suggests he is going to crash and burn the rest of the way.
Upton has trade value.
Do yourself a favor and move him now.
If you don’t you will be kicking yourself by season’s end.