The Rearview Mirror: B.J. Upton Continues To Struggle Offensively

By Jenna West

B.J. Upton slams his helmet on the ground after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays. Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Rearview Mirror is a new series on Rays Colored Glasses, where we will be taking a weekly look at some of the notable ex-Rays players. In our first installment, we discuss B.J. Upton‘s lack of offense with his new team, the Atlanta Braves.

Rays fans always knew that despite B.J. Upton’s solid defense in center field or speed on the base paths his hitting was hot one minute and cold the next. But B.J.’s inconsistency at the plate has unfortunately found a consistently low average, as the former Rays player is hitting only .146 currently with just 4 home runs in 45 games with the Atlanta Braves this season.

After B.J.’s stellar performance last September in Tampa Bay, the Braves snatched up the free agent center fielder during the offseason, along with his brother Justin, who plays left field.  While the two can put on quite a show in the outfield, Justin is the only brother with a hot bat, hitting .259 with 14 HR’s.

This week Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez pulled B.J. from the lineup to have him work on his swing. Tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals marks the fifth time in the past nine games that Gonzalez has left B.J. out of the lineup. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gonzalez has B.J. working with hitting coach Greg Walker and assistant Scott Fletcher to work on bringing his front foot down faster and correct his posture.

When speaking with’s Mark Bowman and Eric Single yesterday, Gonzalez said, “I think at the end of the year, B.J. will be our center fielder, but we’ve got to get him going and get him straightened out. We will. I have not put a timetable on [how many games he will miss]. I think our No. 1 goal is to get him straightened out.”

While B.J. had his struggles at the plate in Tampa Bay, it seems that he has hit a new low in Atlanta. Despite his low batting averages in the past, B.J. has always been pretty consistent with hitting home runs. Hopefully B.J. will find his old swing again in Atlanta and help his brother give fans a great show every night.