The Rays Tank: Bidding B.J. Upton Farewell and Getting Ian Kennedy to Swing

Bob Levey - Getty Images

Rays fans -- and writers -- are getting ready to say goodbye to B.J. Upton, who will likely leave as a free agent following the 2012 MLB season.

Unless the Rays rally to make the playoffs, these are the last nine games of B.J. Upton’s tenure with the franchise. That means we’re in for a slew of feature pieces written about him by various outlets, including, I’m sure, this publication. Bill Chastain of MLB.com published such a piece yesterday, and it’s a good read for those who haven’t had time to check it out.

He writes of Upton’s September successes and, more importantly (to me), his perception among the fans. On his perceived lack of hustle or effort, James Shields said, "It's really funny, because I've been watching him for 10 years now, and the first time I saw him run, it just didn't seem like he was even trying to run. And the next thing you know, you put a clock on him and he's running like 6.3 60s, and you're wondering how he does that, because it just didn't look like he was running that fast."

The piece goes on to talk about Upton’s maturity, with quotes from Maddon and Upton himself, and the amount of September success he’s had. The September success especially rings true, he really is at his best later in the season. His .814 OPS and 125 wRC+ are tied with April for his highest of any month while the wOBA is separated by one point, .360 to .361. Looking at just 2011-2012 his current combined OPS for September is 1.029. Where he really excels is his power. His .201 ISO is nearly 30 points higher than any other month.

Read the piece and enjoy Upton for however many more games he may be here.

Links:

  • Ian Kennedy is a pitcher, but when he takes his turns as a batter, he never swings. And that’s pretty interesting.
  • Dave Schoenfield tries, as an experiment, to construct a Hall of Fame case for Omar Vizquel. No no no no no no no no no no.
  • Just because it’s all anyone is talking about this morning, Deadspin has a ton of content on the Seahawks vs Packers debacle last night. If you’re not a Packer fan it’s wildly entertaining.
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