For Shoewizard, and based off his nominations. Part of me wants to continue this, with Game of the Year [Justin Upton Division], etc. However, I feel Player of the Year [Justin Upton Division] might be a bit of a foregone conclusion, and I'm not sure what would happen for Pitcher of the Year [Justin Upton Division]...
You've probably already seen this one in animated GIF format, since it was tied for second on our list of the 10 biggest home-runs of the Diamondbacks 2012 season. Justin Upton's three-run home run to deep center field broke a fifth-inning tie, giving us an 8-5 lead. It wasn't his most important home-run of the year in terms of Win Probability - that was his ninth-inning shot off Rafael Betancourt on May 17th at Coors, which also broke a tie. However, it was certainly a no-doubter.
To be honest, this was a wretched base-running decision by Quentin, since Cameron Maybin's fly ball was not exactly deep, and Carlos Quentin is not exactly a speedster (his only stolen-base in 255 games since July 2010 was as the back end of a double-steal!) Still, there's no denying that Upton delivered his part of the bargain, with a perfect one-hopper to Miguel Montero at the plate. The ball arrived there so far ahead of Quentin that he didn't even bother with a token effort to slide or charge into our catcher.
Another 450+ foot home-run, this one visiting parts of Dodger Stadium that few balls reach. I mean, if you'd asked me prior to this one, I likely would not even have been able to tell you the bullpen there had a hedge in it. And if you Google "hedge Dodgers bullpen", there are only seven results, and they include a discussion of Frank McCourt and an "onerous loan from a hedge fund." On that basis, I guess this was Upton making a deposit into his very own hedge fund...
This was another important play, as the scores were tied in the bottom of the ninth when Upton covered a lot of ground to reel in Pablo Sandoval's fly ball to one of the deepest parts of AT&T Field. If J-Up had missed the ball, even the sluggish Sandoval would quite possibly have ended up representing the winning run on third. [And the D-backs eventually won this 8-6 in 11 innings, a Kubel triple to a spot not far away driving in the go-ahead run. If Kubel can triple there...] The best thing about this one though. is likely the Sad Panda's reaction.
There were a couple of times this year where it seemed Upton might have been playing too deep, allowing hits to drop in front of him. That wasn't the case here, as he came in hard on a sinking line drive and timed the slide to perfection, snaring the ball on the backhand, just a few inches off the ground in right field. There are three main aspects to being a good outfielder: being in the right spot to begin with; getting to where the ball is; and what you do when you get there. This clip is a good example of all three facets.
What was Justin Upton's Play of the Year?
6/20: The long bomb (5 votes)
7/2: Nailing Quentin at home (1 vote)
9/1: Hedgetrimming in LA (7 votes)
9/4: J-Up causes Sad Panda (24 votes)
10/1: Slide, Justin, slide! (2 votes)
39 total votes