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Whither Vintage B.J. Upton

Okay, Upton's racked up over 100 plate appearances now and he still looks rusty. Pitchers are pounding him with fastballs and daring him to turn on one and he's yet to punish them on a consistent basis. It's not a coincidence either, the league knows his shoulder went under the knife and that he missed most of spring training. So the gameplan against Upton is get ahead then pound him with fastballs.

Unlike Crawford's early slump, Upton is still staying inside of the zone, only swinging outside 14.3% of the time entering tonight. That's nice, but his first-strike% is 65.1, that's near old Crawford levels. So when/if do you move him down? He's obviously pressing out of his mind at this point. B.J. Upton does not swing at two breaking pitches in the dirt in one week like ever, never happens. You can also see him making up his mind to swing on the first pitch no matter what, just hoping to get into one. That's just not going to work. I don't know if moving him down elevates the self-applied pressure or not, but if nothing else it helps the lineup's health.

As for the leadoff slot, put Carl there, put Burrell there, really it doesn't matter since anyone - hot or cold streak - is going to outperform the current B.J. Upton. At some point B.J.'s going to start hitting like B.J again, it's just a matter of time, and how long the Rays are willing to punt the top lineup slot.

100 plate appearances might be long enough.

[And no, this doesn't go against what I said about cold streaks.  We all know B.J. Upton's offensive approach, and right now he's not following it.]