Braves Outfield: From First to Worst?
When the Atlanta Braves won the 1991 National League West after finishing last in 1990, the slogan folks in Braves Country used when describing the ’91 team was “Worst to First.”
After the Braves acquired Justin and B.J. Upton, to go along with incumbent right fielder, Jason Heyward, many baseball analysts speculated that the Braves could potentially have the best starting outfield in baseball in 2013. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way, not anywhere close.
I’m being facetious by asking in the title of this story if the Braves outfield is the worst in baseball. They are not the worst outfield in baseball, but they are close. They are producing far below the level that everybody expected.
B.J. Upton has been one of the worst hitters in baseball. He has come on a little bit lately, but his .169 average, .262 on-base-percentage and .573 slugging percentage make him the worst or close to the worst hitting outfielder in baseball so far this season. His outfield play has been uninspired at times, too.
Jason Heyward won the Gold Glove for his defensive play in the outfield last season and he’s still solid in that facet, but he hasn’t hit much this season. He’s hitting .219, with a decent .322 on-base-percentage, but a utility infielder-like .348 slugging percentage. Like B.J. he’s hit a little more lately, but he’s a long ways away from being a force in the line-up.
Justin Upton is the only one of the three that has put up good offensive numbers this season. But after winning the NL Player of the Month Award in April, Justin hit .211 in May and .214 so far in June with only 3 homers and 15 RBI. His defense, like his brother, has been uninspired.
I fully expect all three of this very talented players to turn their seasons around and be major contributors the rest of the way. But the Braves starting outfield has been a huge disappointment so far this season. Lot of money spent, very little production.