There’s been a lot to talk about with the Atlanta Braves lately. The team is locking up young homegrown stars left and right (most recently a four-year extension for Craig Kimbrel), but some news recently came out about a player who already has his own big contract: B.J. Upton.
The older of the Upton brothers is coming off a disastrous season where he hit just .184/.268/.289 and is hoping to live up to his contract’s high expectations this season. With Brian McCann moving to the Yankees, the Braves could definitely use improved performances out of Upton and/or Dan Uggla, and it seems like Upton is simplifying his swing in order to do that.
The AJC recently put up this video of B.J. Upton’s refined swing:
Let’s hope this turns out to be what B.J. needs to get back to the kind of player he was for several years with the Tampa Bay Rays. In addition to simplifying his swing, he’s probably going to need to simplify his entire approach at the plate and re-evaluate his discipline. Last year we saw him taking too many good pitches and getting beat up and away in the zone over and over again.
It’s clear that Upton prefers to hit pitches lower in the zone and inside, but whether that’s because he just loves to pull the ball or because he just can’t hit up-and-away to the oppositte field is something that remains to be seen. Either way, he’s going to have to make an adjustment in that area this season, because pitchers no exactly where to attack him at this point. The secret’s out.
Also, take a look at these spray charts to get an idea of his pull-heavy past season:
Thanks to Fangraphs for having these awesome charts now as well.