They were born nearly 20 years apart with similar Togel hari ini pedigrees. Each was a high draft pick expected to energize not only the franchise but an entire city.
In 1986, Barry Larkin got 159 at-bats to show what he could do for the Cincinnati Reds. While his numbers weren’t overwhelming — he hit .283 with three homers, 19 RBIs, 27 runs and eight steals in as many attempts — it was obvious he was a superstar in the making.
A similar thing happened in Tampa, Fla., last summer. B.J. Upton, who didn’t turn 20 until Aug. 21, got 159 at-bats with the woeful Devil Rays. His stats were not world-beating — .248, four homers, 12 RBIs, 19 runs and four steals in five attempts — but it was obvious Upton is a future star as well.
Upton was drafted second in 2002, behind Pirates pitcher Bryan Bullington. Bullington, projected as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter, likely won’t reach the big leagues until at least 2006. That he was picked ahead of Upton says more about the sorry state of Pittsburgh’s front office than it does about Upton.
The day is not far off when Upton will be not only the Devil Rays’ best player — a big accomplishment on a team with talents such as Carl Crawford, the injured Rocco Baldelli and Aubrey Huff — but the best player in baseball.
No doubt, Upton also will be a fantasy superstar. The question is what impact he’ll have this season.
In 1987, Larkin’s first full season, he .244 with 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, 64 runs and 21 steals in 125 games — solid numbers, but nothing that would help you win your league.
It was the next year that Larkin blossomed into a fantasy star, hitting .296 with 40 steals. He went on to become one of the game’s top shortstops for more than a decade before retiring this year to join the Washington Nationals’ front office.
Upton and Larkin, though, aren’t the same type of players. While Upton is regarded as above-average fielder with extraordinary range, he’s more erratic than Larkin. He’ll make an all-time great play, then boot a routine grounder. Larkin was money in the field from Day One.
But Larkin was never expected to put up outfielder-type stats, though that’s what experts believe Upton will do. As he fills out his 6-foot-3-inch frame, Upton will be a power hitter with the ability to hit 40 homers a year. He projects more like Alex Rodriguez than Larkin.
What did Rodriguez do in his first full major league season? After playing 17 games for the Mariners as a 19-year-old in 1994 and 48 more in 1995, Rodriguez hit .358 with 36 homers, 123 RBIs, 141 runs and 15 steals in 1996.
Since then, Rodriguez’s 36 homers that year are tied for the second-fewest of his career. The only year he hit fewer (23) was 1997. Since 1998, A-Rod has hit 42, 42, 41, 52, 57, 47 and 36 homers.
Rodriguez’s ability to steal bases is what makes him so valuable as a fantasy player. He stole 15 in 1996, then followed with seasons of 29, 46, 21, 15, 18, 9, 17 and 28. Upton has that same potential.
He’ll struggle at times in 2005 as he learns the pitchers, but pencil him in for a .268 average, 32 homers, 90 RBIs and 25 steals.
Those are winning fantasy numbers no matter what your age. But for a 20-year-old, they portend great things. If you’re in a protection league, Upton has to be considered one of the prime targets.
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