After a season in which Atlanta Braves center fielder B.J. Upton was arguably the worst player in all of Major League Baseball, there is a reported leaning by the Braves to hit him in the #2 spot in the Opening Day lineup.
Fredi is leaning toward batting B.J. second and Chris Johnson in the cleanup spot. Gattis would drop to sixth or seventh
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) March 25, 2014
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is heading toward a scenario where Upton hits behind Jason Heyward in the lineup in the second spot, and frankly, this doesn’t make sense at all. In 2013, the 29-year-old Upton was an utter disaster at the plate, posting a .184/.268/.289 slash line (not a misprint) with just 9 home runs in 446 plate appearances, and even with an expected bounce back, the #2 position doesn’t suit his game.
There is a school of thought that the #2 hitter should be the best hitter in the lineup, and at the very least, it should be someone who gets on-base (Upton has a career .329 OBP) and makes contact (career strikeout rate of 26% with a staggering 33.9% in 2013). To be fair, I am in the camp of people who believes that Upton will be much, much better than he was in 2013, but there is no scenario in which hitting him in the projected position is optimal.