Earlier today on MLB Network, it was announced that Melvin Upton, formerly known as B.J. Upton, will once again be changing his name; this time, back to B.J. Upton.
Upton was second overall selection in the 2002 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays and instantly became one of the game’s top prospects. He eventually made his major league debut in 2004 at the ripe age of 19 and is still the youngest player in franchise history. He would struggle mightily defensively, leading to him changing positions multiple times, until he finally found his niche in center field.
He finally had a breakout campaign in 2007 after spending all of 2005 and the majority of 2006 in the minors. Upton mashed 24 HR that year and hit .300/.386/.508 over 548 plate appearances, accruing 4.5 fWAR at just 22 years of age. During the 2008 postseason, Upton put on a show as he walloped seven home runs (one shy of the MLB record). In 2009, Upton hit the first cycle in franchise history.
Upton eventually became a free agent following the 2012 season, ending his eight-year major league career with the Rays, having hit .255/.336/.422 with 118 HR over 4,063 plate appearances.
Since leaving the Rays, he has never truly found a home, bouncing around the league with stops in Atlanta, San Diego, and Toronto. Upton last played in the majors during the 2016 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent part of the 2017 season with the Giants, but never reached the majors.
Prior to the 2015 season, B.J. Upton changed his name to Melvin (it was his actual legal name).