Where the Uptons have struggled
Declining production against pitches up in the zone a concern for Braves
In late November 2012, the Braves made an aggressive move to replace their own free-agent center fielder by signing B.J. Upton to a five-year, $72.25 million deal. About two months later, the Braves added his younger brother Justin via trade with the Diamondbacks, securing what was viewed as the team's long-term outfield -- in addition to Jason Heyward in right -- with the addition of the siblings. We are about three quarters of the way through the duo's second season in Atlanta. B.J. has been an unqualified disaster, hitting .196/.273/.310 in over 900 plate appearances, a contribution worth minus-2.3 WAR according to Baseball-Reference. The trade for Justin, meanwhile, has paid dividends, with the younger brother slashing .273/.356/.486 -- better production this season than last -- while adding roughly six wins.
It has become something of a trend to refer to the Braves as particularly difficult to watch given the amount of swing and miss in the offense during the Upton era. In truth, this organization already had plenty of that prior to 2013 -- the seventh-highest strikeout rates in 2011 and 2012 -- but the addition of these two players has indeed taken it to another level. That's no surprise given that this season, B.J. has the third-highest swing-and-miss rate in baseball (34.2 percent), with Justin having the 18th highest (28.6 percent). The only batter with a higher strikeout rate than B.J. is Chris Davis, and Justin once again ranks among the top 20.
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