The Rays need to get more consistency out of B.J. Upton. He is not a .240 hitter. He runs too well, he makes too much contact. B.J., five years ago, had a .300 season. And I, for one, think he's a .300 hitter ... if he works two-strike counts a little better. If B.J. Upton was Dustin Pedroia with two strikes on him, he'd be a .280 hitter instead of a .240 hitter.That was Tim McCarver, in the third inning of Saturday's Red Sox/Rays game, giving his scouting report on Upton, who began the game with a .242 average.
not a .240 hitter ... five years ago, had a .300 season
In 2007, his first full season in the majors, Upton batted .300, right on the nose. In the three subsequent seasons, he has hit .273, .241, and .237. His career average is .258. So McCarver is right, I suppose. It's more accurate to call Upton a .260 hitter. However, in my opinion, hitting exactly .300 one season, and then going into a 3½-year slump does not mean you are still a .300 hitter.
runs too well
I do not understand how speed should translate into a higher average? Maybe beating out a few infield hits, perhaps. I'm sure everyone reading this can immediately name at least a dozen players who are/were not "fleet of foot", but still get/got tons of hits.
makes too much contact
In 2011, Upton is 64th out of 78 qualifying AL hitters in Contact Percentage (76%).
Over his career, Upton has struck out in 24.8% of his plate appearances. His 24.9% K rate this season leads the Rays and is the 7th-highest percentage in the AL and #11 in MLB. Among AL batters, Upton was tied for 2nd last year, 6th in 2009, 11th in 2008, and 2nd in 2007. ... "Too much" contact? The dude is actually one of the worst contact hitters in the AL. Sorry, Tim.2011 - 64th out of 78 2010 - 68th out of 70 2009 - 65th out of 75 2008 - 47th out of 67 2007 - 79th out of 82
I, for one, think he's a .300 hitter
You may be the only "one", Tim. In 31 months in the major leagues, Upton has hit over .300 in only four of them: April and July 2007, May 2008, and June 2009. That's it. He's hitting very well this month, though, so July 2011 could be the 5th month out of 32. ... Since August 11, 2007 -- encompassing 77% of his career at-bats -- Upton has batted .249 (525-for-2110).
if he works two-strike counts a little better
In two-strike counts (0-2, 1-2, 3-2), Upton is hitting .168 over his career. Here are his season averages since 2007, with two strikes, compared to the entire AL.
Upton was near or above league average until the past two seasons, when he has dipped sharply, so McCarver has a point here.UPTON AL 2007 .186 .198 2008 .203 .196 2009 .198 .190 2010 .121 .184 2011 .130 .183
If B.J. Upton was Dustin Pedroia with two strikes on him, he'd be a .280 hitter instead of a .240 hitter
Pedroia is a .258 career hitter with two strikes, 90 points higher than Upton's .168 average.
McCarver is correct. If Upton hit with two strikes like someone who hits really well with two strikes, he'd have a higher batting average. ... But, seriously, kudos to McCarver for citing someone who hits well above average with two strikes. (I fully expected (a) Upton to be decent w/2 strikes and (b) for Upton and Pedroia's stats to be about the same.)UPTON PEDROIA 2007 .186 .263 2008 .203 .298 2009 .198 .243 2010 .121 .240 2011 .130 .262
More WTF-ness from McCarver:
After Jacoby Ellsbury beat out an infield hit in the first inning: "With a ball hit like that, Ellsbury is running on contact."
Aren't most batters, when they hit the ball -- assuming they are not admiring a 500-foot moon shot -- running on contact?
As Adrian Gonzalez batted in the first: "He has been a hitting monster playing in the same park as the Green Monster."
I wish I had begun a list of these types of McCarverisms years ago. Maybe I have some scrawled on old post-season scorecards.
Noting that two of Boston's first three runs got on base on walks: "You look at multi-run innings, Dick, and you'll find walks in there. Almost all of them. There will be a walk peppered in there. And from a mental standpoint, if a pitcher is walking a hitter, or walking more than one, then the guys behind him get better pitches to hit because he doesn't want to throw the ball out of the strike zone."
McCarver loves to exaggerate the importance of walks (especially leadoff walks). While stating that "almost all" multi-run innings will include at least one a walk, McCarver offers absolutely no evidence, and overlooks the fact that the Rays had scored three runs only two innings earlier without drawing a walk.
Bonus: Dick Stockton referred to Josh Reddick as "Ellsbury" twice during Reddick's second-inning at-bat.