Angels Acquire Justin Upton: Fantasy impact

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 14: Justin Upton
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 14: Justin Upton /

The Angels added Justin Upton to their outfield to stay competitive in the AL Wild Card race. How does this affect fantasy baseball for the final month and beyond?

The Los Angeles Angels haven’t been known to spend big money on free agents or trade for big-name players. Three of the four players they acquired earlier this year are bench players. That changed on Thursday when the Angels traded for veteran outfielder Justin Upton.

Upton has hit better this season compared to his last two years. In 125 games, he has 28 home runs, 94 RBI and 81 runs. He also has a .279/.362/.542 with 147 strikeouts and 57 walks. Upton stole 10 bases too. This gave Upton his fourth All-Star game appearance.

The Angels outfielders have been decent but the long absence from Mike Trout showed how vulnerable the team actually is. They rolled with Kole Calhoun, Eric Young Jr., and Cameron Maybin. The latter will be brought up again later. Ben Revere also made some appearances.

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The Angels left fielder (everyone who played that position combined) hit .244 with seven home runs, 38 RBI, 68 runs scored and 36 steals in 47 attempts. The steals are mostly from Revere and Maybin but it’s hard to set a lineup based on a platoon. The rest of the offensive stats were lackluster.

While the Angels are far from being a World Series contender, the team does have playoff aspirations. The team is just one game back of the second Wild Card spot. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and are on a three-game winning streak.

With Trout back in the lineup and Albert Pujols still crushing the ball, the Angels have a good shot at staying in the race for the rest of the season.

Upton spent most of his career in the National League. In 53 plate appearances in Angels Stadium, he has a .271/.340/.479 line with 14 hits, three home runs, six RBI and four runs scored. He does not have a batting average over .216 in any of the other AL West ballparks.

An outfield corps of Trout, Upton and Calhoun is a pretty dangerous trio. Fantasy owners and the Angels starting pitchers will appreciate them covering the outfield. Upton has a .979 fielding percentage as a left fielder.

To make room for Upton on the roster, the Angels traded Maybin to the Houston Astros. He will likely be in a platoon with Derek Fisher in left field as Josh Reddick and George Springer man the other two positions. His value declines greatly with this move.

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Upton is already owned in 96 percent of ESPN leagues, so you either have him or you don’t. I like the move for fantasy. In the final month of the season, he has a better lineup around him and will continue to hit to end the season.

If he stays with the Angels beyond this season is another story. If he does, I like him as a top-20 outfielder next year.