Stranger than fiction: Melvin Upton Jr. is still killing the Braves

San Diego Padres’ Melvin Upton Jr., center, is greeted by teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

San Diego Padres' Melvin Upton Jr., center, is greeted by teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

So how come he never did this here? (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

On April 28, the Atlanta Braves lost to the Washington Nationals on a ninth-inning home run hoisted by Dan Uggla, of all people. On Aug. 18, the same Braves — actually, by now they’re rather different — lost to the San Diego Padres on a night when Melvin Upton Jr., of all people, hit two two-run homers.

Wait. It gets stranger. Upton was only in the Padres’ lineup because Will Venable had been traded before the game.

Wait again. Upton also had a run-scoring single. He had three hits and five RBIs on the night. Only once in two seasons as a Brave did he have two home runs in a game; only twice did he have three hits; not once did he have more than three RBIs.

It’s not as if Upton had been having a big season after being shipped out on the eve of Opening Day. He’d missed the first 2 1/2 months due to injury and played sparingly since. Before Tuesday’s game, he was hitting .225 with an on-base percentage of .290; he’d hit three homers and driven in eight runs. If he has been slightly better as a Padre (WAR value of 0.7) than as a Brave, that’s only because he was utterly awful as a Brave (two-year WAR rating of minus-2.2).

If there’s any consolation in seeing the player formerly known as B.J. light up the team that lavished the infamous $75.25 million contract on him, it was this: The Braves are no longer paying Upton. On the night Uggla beat them, the Braves were paying him more than anyone on the current roster.

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92 comments
GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

The Braves are now 2-22 in their last 24 games on the road. Can anybody do the research to determine what the longest road losing streak has been? Or worst 24 games on the road? The Braves were 42-42 on July 7 and since have gone 11-29. That's 9-7 at home and 2-22 on the road. Could not, say, a class A team do as well? Why not swap all 25 players before the next road trip, and promote the entire Gwinnett Braves to the Major Leagues? How could anything go worse? This team made Melvin Upton look like Babe Ruth.

LEWWHEEL
LEWWHEEL

What the hay!!!!!  Melvin had a good year in one game. That almost totaled his production for 2 years as a  Brave. That should justify about 14 million! That justifies our griping about about Braves pitching!!

dhal1
dhal1

I don't care if Melvin Jr. hits 5 HRs  today, and 40 more this season, it is wonderful to have him out of the Braves organization.

The greatest save that Kimbrel ever made for the Braves,........was taking Melvin Upton Jr. and his contract with him to San Diego.


Thank you for that comment.  I'm jumping up and down with agreement.  And thanks to Kimbrel.

zedlu
zedlu

as Freddie was bobby cox's hand picked successor, Freddie will be here as long as he wants to. any way the braves can avoid going to san diego next year?

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

The Braves rank 23rd in attendance for 2015.  In 2014 they were 18th, and in 2013 they were 13th.

Its safe to say they will drop another 5 spots and rank 28th in 2016. Liberty Media could care less.

Fredi's final season will be next year, and so far Hart's moves leave much to be desired.  

Wreck13
Wreck13

How are those articles you post on MuttCounty doing on comments?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Wreck13

Good question, so don't expect an answer.

I think the AJC is happy to reduce the comment load on its Dawg material.

Jetiredo
Jetiredo

The main difference between Cox and Fredi is Cox would play young guys and ride their momentum and win games.in the regular season he normally wouldn't . meanwhile Fredi plays high priced veterans no matter what.

khd713
khd713

@Jetiredo This comment could not be more off-the-mark. There was no manager in the history of baseball more loyal to washed-up veterans than Bobby Cox. I've erased them from my memory, but there are literally dozens more examples in addition to Johnson-Prado.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@Da_Mick 

Kelly Johnson was down to about .215 before he got hurt; and Bobby was forced to play Martin Prado who had the 2B job won that spring training hands down. 

Braves don't like players like Blanco, Infante & Prado.

Da_Mick
Da_Mick

I remember quite clearly when Cox kept a chronically underperforming Kelly Johnson at second base, for the better part of two seasons, while holding a young, red-hot Martin Prado down, on the bench.  There's no doubt that Gonzalez really is a terrible manager, for so many reasons, but Cox was just not the great manager he's made out to be.  He basically just did the same things, gamewise, all the time, with far superior players.  There was absolutely no creativity there.  An argument could well be made that Cox was a much  better General Manager than Manager, as he was directly responsible for seeding the players that eventually carried us in the 90s, not John S. 

joedavis
joedavis

And Markakis is in the cleanup spot today.  #Braves #priceless

joedavis
joedavis

2015 home run production:  Madison Bumgarner 4.  Braves corner outfielders (in most frequent lineups) 2.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

" Eury Perez served as the starting left fielder in 15 of the first 20 games the Braves played after the All-Star break. During that span, Perez batted .291, compiled a .361 on-base percentage and served as a reliable defender. But since Bourn arrived on Aug. 8, Perez had totaled five plate appearances entering play Tuesday."

One of many reasons why the Braves will never win with Fredi Gonzalez managing them.

khd713
khd713

@SaveAmericaFromItself What you say is true in fact, but let's be honest here. Do you really think Eury Perez is the answer to our problems in the left field? Do you really think he is a future all-star? Anyone who knows anything about baseball who takes one look at Eury Perez immediately concludes "B-" bench player, which is what he is and always will be. Yes, he has played very well in his short time with the Braves, and even had a couple of game-winning hits, but let's not kid ourselves about what Eury Perez really is as a big-league baseball player. I think his hot-streak would have lasted about two more weeks before the pitchers figured him out. He's not the future in left field, so whether Gonzalez plays him or plays Bourn doesn't make an iota of difference.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@khd713 @SaveAmericaFromItself  Do you think Bourn, Gomes and Swisher is the future? Your remarks "anyone who knows anything about baseball" and "I think" loses some of your  respect. Just your opinion no better than others. SaveAmerica remarks are well respected in baseball circles. Play the kids...

khd713
khd713

@58Supersports @khd713 @SaveAmericaFromItself No, I don't think any of those players are the future. My point is that it just doesn't matter right now. We all need to just sit back and let this process takes its place. Hart has plan and it's going to take time to implement – probably two years at least. At that point we can evaluate whether he has succeeded or failed, but until then it's a complete waste of time to worry about whether Freddy is starting Perez, Bourn, Gomes or Swisher. None of those guys will be playing here in two years.

BobbyCox
BobbyCox

No, Bradley, the bullpen is still killing the Braves. Those pitches had no movement on them, and too much of the plate.

reckingball
reckingball

What is the estimate of the amount of $$$$money that Heyward will want, and the estimated of what he will receive?

BJ Upton got $75million over 5 years.

Hammerman
Hammerman

Markakis is a complementary player in a powerful deep line up,maybe the 7 hole.For the hapless impotent Braves he is put in the production spots,which he doesn't have those skills to produce.BJ Surhoff part 2.

reckingball
reckingball

I don't care if Melvin Jr. hits 5 HRs  today, and 40 more this season, it is wonderful to have him out of the Braves organization.

The greatest save that Kimbrel ever made for the Braves,........was taking Melvin Upton Jr. and his contract with him to San Diego.

joedavis
joedavis

I'd have great respect for Markakis if he refunds half of his $11 million dollar salary if he fails to reach 50 RBI, which is certainly possible at the rate he's going.  And wishful thinking aside, I really don't expect him to get any stronger or faster as he ages into his mid-30s.

reckingball
reckingball

The last sentence in MB's writeup, is the reason that Uggla was booed so badly in Atlanta. It's all legal, but still having to pay him after he could not perform his job and was released, is kind of like stealing. 

reckingball
reckingball

At least Melvin Jr. can't hurt the Braves in every game that he plays in this year, like he did the prior two seasons.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

Somehow this forum on "Melvin" has evolved into trashing Nick Markakis, which may be an underlying yearning or man-love for Jason Heyward to be in RF in Atlanta. The Braves needed starting pitching and Shelby Miller has more than filled the need, and don't forget Tyrell Jenkins will be competing next spring for a starting job.

Jason Heyward; 407 at bats; 11 HR; 43 RBI; .287 BA; .343 OBP; .986 fielding

Nick Markakis; 454 at bats; 2 HR; 42 RBI; .293 BA; .364 OBP; .996 fielding

In a Cardinals' uniform I fully expected Heyward to have a monster season. He was nearly nonexistent in April-May; might reach 55 RBIS; and has hardly been a key contributor to the Cardinals' success in 2015. 

He'll likely be in a different uniform in 2016, rewarded for that potential that has yet to be realized. With all the real hitters he's surrounded with in St Louis, Heyward's offensive numbers should be light years ahead of what they currently are.

Nick Markakis's lack of power has been disappointing, but he's hardly the reason for the Braves' disappointing season as some on here would have you believe.  

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

Melvin is actually helping the team.  We all want to win, but let's face it, every loss now actually helps us to go up the draft board.  While it is nowhere near as important in baseball as it is in the NBA, NFL, and NHL, it is still helpful.


I don't mind the losses and I am enjoying watching the younger kids get their shot instead of the parade of Keith Lockhart's we have run out there over the years.

Jetiredo
Jetiredo

Keith Lockhart was a pretty good player. But if your gonna bring up "young players" the why is Swisher, Bourn, and Gomes eating up playing time. But other than that I totally agree with you.

Polskidawg
Polskidawg

@Jetiredo I think it's because the players at their positions aren't ready for an audition - yet. That, and the re-stocking isn't finished. We'll see several potential OF's and a C over the next 18 months. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@KeepinItSimple: ". . . every loss now actually helps us to go up the draft board . . . I don't mind the losses."

______________________

Classic loser attitude.

It permeates ATL pro sports teams and their followers.

Thus, you have "Losersville."

Jetiredo
Jetiredo

Just a very bland team and an awful manager that plays ineffective veterans over young hungry players. That's the problem mediocre talent and awful managing. Anyone want to disagree with me fine but you know I'm right even the biggest Fredi apologists will admit that the last 2 months has been awful for Fredi in terms of his moves but what's worse is the Braves rewarding him with a contract extension during a 5 game losing streak.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@Jetiredo 

You are dead-on about Fredi and his insistence on playing hasbeens like Swisher, Bourn & Gomes instead of young players with upside. I enjoyed watching Eury Perez in LF and then Bourn arrived, whose skills with the bat and speed are obviously in severe decline.

I'm hoping Gomes or Swisher is released when Freeman returns, but I suspect Terdo will be heading back to Gwinnett.

joedavis
joedavis

True, nobody expected much from the Braves this year, myself included. And the bullpen dumpster fire has cost the team 15 games, easily.  But the lack of offense has been just as bad.  Take away Kelly J & Uribe (which the Braves already did), Freddie when he's healthy, team MVP Maybin, AJ & Jace, and you've got nothing.  Simmons is apparently destined to be all-glove, no-bat, 3B and LF are revolving doors, and Markakis is a no-impact singles hitter.


The sad part is, thanks to the Mets injuries and the Nats collapse, the Braves actually DID have a shot this year.  No one thought they would, but with a decent bullpen, and a couple more decent bats (not Markakis-types, but run producers), they'd be in the race.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

@joedavis 

The Braves only had a "shot" at the division championship (ATL loves those) because overall, the NL East continues to SUCK.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Oh, I'd take a couple more like Markakis. You can't produce runs if the bases are empty. No, he's not a slugger, but put people on base in front of him, let him hit .300 and the runs will score.

Fredi? Clueless. Why play Gomes in a platoon with Bourn? Perez (Eury) is twice the layer Bourn is now, and three times the player Gomes is. Bourn and Perez should be the LF combo with Perez seeing most of,the time. FG is not much of a manager, and I've defended him in the past.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Does not matter, the Braves have thrown in the towel and are playing what amounts to AAAA baseball at this point, playing out the string. BJ was done as a Brave; he got his money and squandered his opportunity here. Good riddance.

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

The 2 HRs were a fluke, just like the day he did it for Atlanta. Watch and see, he'll hit under.200 the rest of the season with an occasional dinger. BUT, if he continues to crank them out, then a drug test is in order.

AtlantaSportsVictory
AtlantaSportsVictory

As I said on a different blog, last night was the new low point of the season.