How good is Justin Upton?

He's currently on pace for a 30/.300/100 season - hitting thirty homers, batting .300 and driving in a hundred runs. That's something which has only been done seven times by a player his age (or younger) in baseball history. Here's the list, along with the honors those players went on to accumulate:

Player Year HR BA RBI Age Team Honors
Albert Pujols 2001 37 .329 130 21 STL 8-time All-Star, 2 MVP
Alex Rodriguez 1996 36 .358 123 20 SEA 12-time All-Star, 3 MVP
Eddie Mathews 1953 47 .302 135 21 MLN 9-time All-Star, HOF
Ted Williams 1939 31 .327 145 20 BOS 17-time All-Star, 3 MVP, HOF
Hal Trosky 1934 35 .330 142 21 CLE
Mel Ott 1929 42 .328 151 20 NYG 11-time All-Star, HOF
Jimmie Foxx 1929 33 .354 118 21 PHA 9-time All-Star, 3 MVP, HOF

Yeah, that's right. On average, those players have gone on to appear in ten All-Star games [and it'd have been more for Ott and Foxx, had the game been about when they started], win an MVP award, and 80% of them make it into Cooperstown when they retire. Trosky is a curious exception. He was never higher than 10th in the MVP voting, even in 1936 when he hit .343 with 42 homers, 162 RBI and an OPS of 1.026 [some guy no-one has ever heard of, called "Lou Gehrig", won it that season...]. However, his career was cut short by a combination of migraine issues and World War II, and he only played 312 games after his age-27 season in 1940.

Let's hope Upton's career follows one of the other paths, and I am not saying he is a Cooperstown lock. But it's an astonishing list which he might join, and we should absorb this season with the sense of potential history unfolding that it deserves. Imagine being able to tell your kids that you saw Ted Williams develop into his prime. That is the kind of potential Upton is showing us this season. Enjoy it, folks...

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