by Ray Kuhn
If you are going to compare year over year ADP’s, Justin Upton is certainly available at a cheaper price heading into 2020 than he was prior to 2019. As of early February the Angels’ outfielder is coming off the board as the 59th outfielder with an ADP of 230.
Once you get past pick 200 you can begin to lump together your options over the next three to four rounds as you fill out your starting lineup, and Upton is a worthy target as he looks to bounce back from a lost season. At this price he warrants a closer look.
Upton dealt with both turf toe and a knee injury last season, ultimately finishing with a .215 batting average, 12 HR and 40 RBI in 219 AB. While no one is going to confuse that with being impressive, some quick math (with a full season’s worth of at bats) gets Upton right back to his 30 HR and 85 RBI from 2018. We also should note, hiss BABIP of .261 last season was well below his career mark of .325. With that being said, a return to his .257 batting average from 2018 is possible and he should be able to pick up right where he left off.
With an 11.6% barrel rate last season, compared to a league average mark of 6.3%, it’s hard to argue with Upton’s batted ball skills. This isn’t anything new, as over his last three season’s he finished between 12.5% and 14%. He also brings above average exit velocity to the table, and even as he struggled last season his hard hit rate of 37% was above the league average of 34.5% (after a 47.4% mark in 2018).
At age 32 it’s very likely we have seen the best Upton has to offer, but that doesn’t mean his days of being a useful fantasy commodity have past. Batting fifth for the Angels is prime RBI territory, and while his contact rate of 64% does present some concern his power metrics don’t appear to be going anywhere.
Put it all together and Upton has some value as you fill out the back end of your outfield.
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 preseason rankings: