Justin Upton 2011 vs. 2012

The first line is first 49 games of 2011 and the second is his first 49 games of 2012

210 PA .247/.329/.462 .791 OPS 11 DB, 1 TP, 9 HR 24 RBI, 20 walks 39 K's and 3 HBP

204 PA .249/.348/.376 .724 OPS 7 DB, 0 TP, 5 HR 20 RBI, 24 walks 47 K's and 4 HBP

The biggest differences of course is that he is hitting with less power AND striking out more. But the two batting lines overall are fairly similar. We know Justin can go on a power tear and hit a bunch of homers quickly to catch up to last year's pace. I'm not really worried about the homers. I am more than a little concerned over his K rate going back up. 18.9% at this stage last year, and 23% so far this year.

His overall contact rate is more or less the same so far as it was for the full season last year, which included all his good months too of course. But his contact rate on pitches IN the strike zone is lower than last years career high.

He's being pitched to mostly the same way. The breakdown of pitch types is almost identical to last year. But Justin has been struggling MUCH more with curveballs and changeups compared to last year. Damn Crafty lefties !

In fact, last year Justin struggled against lefties even more than righties in his first 49 games

.233/.365/.419 in 52 PA's with 2 HR

This year the early struggles vs. lefties are slightly worse

.233/.371/.314 in 62 PA's with 1 HR

So comparing last year's first 49 games with this years first 49 games for him is actually a little bit comforting, because he ended up with excellent overall numbers. BUT....of course this year the TEAM is doing much worse through the first 53 team games than last years team, (24-29 vs 29-24) so his early season struggles have hurt the team a lot more, especially since he couldn't get it in gear while CY was out. And lets be clear. His poor performance has HURT this team. They depend on him more than any other position player. They have a lot invested in him. He doesn't have to "carry" the team....but long periods of non productivity and mental lapses should be fading into the background of our distant memory, not persisting like they have been.

I think it's pretty clear that last nights "day off" was a benching due to poor effort, (or perceived poor effort, I don't really know) in Right Field the night before. Whether it was effort, lack of concentration, poor judgement, whatever, it was a craptastic performance in the field Friday night, and until he gets the bat going, he REALLY can't afford to screw up in the field...(or on the bases getting picked off, which happened not long ago too).

This is the last time I am going to say "he's only 24". I realize better than anyone that he is still very young, and his overall career arc could still take a steep upward climb. But you know what ? It's time. We need him NOW. This is OUR time to enjoy the greatness that could be Justin Upton. We have him for 3 1/2 more years, and then he'll most likely be gone. I want to enjoy the next 3 1/2 years and stop talking about how young he is.

I have been a HUGE supporter, both publicly and privately, and that won't stop. But I do feel it's time Justin. C'mon man....LETS GO!