In 2011, Justin Upton emerged as an elite hitter in the major leagues. Upton, then 23 years old, already had a 26-home run season under his belt, but 2011 was different. His 141 OPS+ ranked just outside the top 10 in the National League, and his 31 home runs were tied for ninth. Upton’s maturation into one of the league’s finest hitters was not a surprise; success was always an expectation.
Upton was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft. After dominating at all levels in the minors, the Arizona Diamondbacks promoted the 19 year-old to the show — where he became a fixture in the Diamondbacks outfield for the next five seasons.
But after a rough 2012 season in which the hitter posted a comparatively mediocre .280/.355/.430 line and just 17 home runs, the formerly untouchable stud became expendable.…rest the rest of this article on Guy Speed.