Ranking the Rattlers #1: RF – Justin Upton

July 12, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton during the 2011 All Star game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The top spot in a list of the Diamondback’s everyday position players ends in no Surprise.  Thanks to dynamic talent, Justin Upton has staked his claim as one of baseball’s brightest young stars.

Here’s where we’ve been in the rankings:

#8 – 3B Ryan Roberts

#7 – 2B Aaron Hill

#6 – LF Gerardo Parra

#5 – 1B Paul Goldschmidt

#4 – SS Stephen Drew

#3 – CF Chris Young

#2 – C Miguel Montero

#1 – RF Justin Upton

As close to untouchable as can be, Justin Upton firmly planted himself in the MVP discussion after a tremendous 2011 season.  Upton morphed from a young, raw talent to a polished perennial All-Star seemingly overnight.  After a little bit of a down 2010 in which he was nagged by injuries, Upton broke out in 2011 with some impressive numbers.  He hit .289 with 31 HRs and 88 RBI.  He has exceptional range in the outfield and has the ability to be a 30/30 player, although he has yet to steal more than 21 bases in a season.

The #1 pick of the 2005 Draft, Upton’s transformation to one of the games best has not coincidentally coincided with the Diamondbacks emergence as a World Series to contender.  He’s been labeled as a 5 tool player, and has for the most part lived up to that billing.  Upton’s one drawback would be his fielding–he led NL outfielders in error in 2011–however his speed and throwing arm help make up for his defensive foibles.

Not even 25 until August, it’s highly doubtful that Upton has hit his ceiling yet.  It’s encouraging that 2011 brought more power while also a fairly significant drop in his strikeout ratio.  It’s a clear indication that Upton is very coachable and willing to adjust his approach at the plate.  The sky is the limit for this future MVP.

Follow me on twitter @detsportsczar or at www.thesportsczar.com.

Follow Venom Strikes on twitter @venomstrikes.

 

Topics: Arizona Diamondbacks, D-backs, Dbacks, Justin Upton

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