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The Upton brothers - B.J. and Justin - have always been hard to value fantasy-wise.
They both have all the talent in the world, but both of them tend to be streaky in both the best and worst ways. You might not get a really great, balanced season out of either one, but you could get a great half season, or at least an outstanding month.
An outstanding week is what Justin Upton had to open the season - six home runs in his first seven games, nine runs scored and a 1.640 OPS. B.J. Upton is playing his streakiness in the other direction - three hits in his first 25 at-bats, including an 0-for-14 spell to start the season. His three stolen bases provide some solace, but for those of us who though B.J. would be the better Upton to own this season, it's not enough.
My main reason for passing on Justin this year was a prolonged slump last season that left him with 18 HRs after 31 the previous year. I thought this season would be about him finding his way back, but with one-third his HR total from last year in the opening week this year, maybe that task is done.
B.J., on the other hand, saw his HRs tick upward last season to 28, from 23 in 2012. But SBs are B.J.'s biggest fantasy contribution, and while he slipped in his SB totals from 42 in 2010 to 31 last year, SBs are harder to come by in fantasy baseball than HRs.
So who is the better Upton to own this year? The jury is still out. Justin will come back down to Earth at some point, and B.J. will hit at least moderately better as the season goes on.
If, at the end of the slate, Justin has 35 HRs and 20 SBs, and B.J. has 20 HRs and 35 SBs, B.J. might still be my first choice.
* Bleacher Report says to drop Carlos Marmol ASAP. Duh.
* Rant Sports says to patient with Pedro Alvarez. True, Alvarez started 2-for-25 this season, but he was practically 0-for-April/May last year and still hit 30 HRs when things were all said and done.
* Fake Teams keeps tabs on two-start pitchers for Week 2.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.