Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm a man
of wealth with a blogger's salary . . . and taste.
Anyway, I'm here to shake off the blog cobwebs and throw out a baseball topic just for grins. Let's start with B.J. Upton, one of the up-and-coming superstars of the American League. How high are you willing to go on this cat?
Upton's 2008 season was dynamic and disappointing all at once. While he ran whenever he could on the bases (44 steals in 60 attempts), he fell off 100 OPS points and hit just nine homers. It wasn't difficult to see that a serious shoulder problem was hampering his ability to drive the ball.
Alas, Bossman Junior (that's what BJ stands for, honest) somehow got the power stroke working in the playoffs despite the shoulder issue, going deep seven times in 66 at-bats. His zesty .985 OPS in October jumps out at you, and he remained aggressive on the bases (six steals in six attempts). His game-tying dash through the Philadelphia raindrops in Game 5 (somehow he didn't hydroplane in the quagmire) stands as the craziest visual from the 2008 World Series.
Upton had the torn labrum surgically repaired in November, as expected. The Rays concede he might need to be handled with kid gloves early in the 2009 season; there's talk of him not playing in the opening week.
At the end of the day, fantasy baseball is a number's racket. I'll show you my 2009 guess on Upton, and you can share yours in the comments: Fearless Forecast: 142 games, 531 at-bats, 92 runs, 152 hits, 19 homers, 81 RBIs, 39 steals, .286 average, .382 OPB, .467 slugging. I should also note that Upton is currently No. 14 on Brandon Funston's Big Board.
Spring fever, anyone? I know one freezing scribe in Michigan who has it, bad. Welcome to Baseball, 2009. Let's talk hardball.