The Arizona Diamondbacks have traded outfielder Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves, in a seven player deal in which the Braves also land third baseman Chris Johnson. The Braves send former All-Star infielder Martin Prado to Arizona.
Upton, only 25 years old, has five major league seasons under his belt. What is special for Upton this season is he and his brother B.J. Upton will both be in Braves jerseys.
Upton last season had a .280 batting average with 17 home runs, 67 RBIs and a career-high 107 runs. In 2011, he hit .289, had 31 home runs, 88 RBIs, and helped the Diamondbacks win the NL West. He also finished fourth in NL MVP voting.
With his step back in performance last season, Upton’s fresh start will be an opportunity for him to prove himself. He has his work cut out for him, because he is leaving hitter friendly Chase Field for Turner Field. Turner has also proven to be tougher on right-handed batters, but only in terms of hitting homeruns.
In his 17 games played at Turner Field, Upton has a .293/.388/.483 line, but those games aren’t enough to predict anything. We have to wait and see if the Upton brothers can push each other to their full potential. He may have struggled last season, but his 2011 season showed he can compete with the big boys.
Braves fans should be excited they’re getting a young player with serious talent. With the other players Atlanta has been acquiring in the offseason, the Braves are once again going to be a major threat in not just the NL East, but also the entire National League. This young team looks to be a serious World Series contender.