July 9, 2007

THE CLASS OF THE BEST O.F. CLASS EVER?:

Ultratalented Upton on fast track to D-backs (Jerry Crasnick, 7/09/07, ESPN.com)

"The ball jumps off his bat," said Don Money, manager of Milwaukee's Huntsville affiliate in the Southern League. "There's an old saying that a kid needs 2,000 at-bats in the minors before you can really form an opinion. Well, I don't think he's going to get any 2,000 at-bats."

If all goes well, the Diamondbacks could bring Upton up for a September cameo and give him a legitimate crack at a starting job next spring. [...]

Scouts agree that Upton has the requisite arm strength to handle right field. He showed it by uncorking a strong throw that elicited plenty of "ahhs" during the U.S. squad's 7-2 loss to the World team Sunday.

That was nothing compared with the charge he put into the crowd in the third inning, when he turned on a 96-mph fastball from White Sox prospect Fautino De Los Santos and hit a tracer into the left-field seats at AT&T Park. The swing made a distinct impression on U.S. team manager Dave Winfield. [...]

Upton carries himself with the poise of a player who has been around a while, and he clearly has benefited from watching his brother's growing pains in Tampa Bay. B.J. Upton bounced from one position to another before finally settling in at second base for the Devil Rays. He's hitting .320 in 200 at-bats this season.

Justin, selected a year after the Diamondbacks drafted Stephen Drew, switched from shortstop to the outfield and is destined to stay there for the long haul. Right now, it's simply a matter of refinement. He's receiving help in the fine art of outfield play from Mobile manager and former major leaguer Brett Butler.

After fiddling around with a number of stances last year, Upton has concentrated on taking a more consistent approach this season. He also spent a lot of time this past winter working on flexibility drills and other exercises to enhance his durability. [...]

The 2005 draft produced a mother lode of outfielders. Upton, Bruce, Detroit's Cameron Maybin, Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and St. Louis' Colby Rasmus all appeared in this year's Futures Game and are regarded as potential All-Stars if they continue to progress.

The old-timers sure seem to appreciate Upton's game. Arizona coach Kirk Gibson called Upton a "19-year-old sponge" in spring training because of the way he asks questions and retains information, and Winfield predicted big things for the kid down the road.


The D'backs are talking about bringing him up now to "solve" their offensive problems, which seems a bad idea both for a 19-year old and a potential playoff team. Trade some of the other youngsters for a real bat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 9, 2007 12:00 AM
Comments

They've got do something. They just got swept by the Reds.

Posted by: Brandon at July 9, 2007 10:32 AM

Trade Reynolds, Callaspo & Quentin for a major league Rightfielder & starting pitcher.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2007 2:41 PM
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