What can the LA Angels expect from a full season of Justin Upton?

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Justin Upton
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Justin Upton /

The LA Angels made a big deal at the end of August when they acquired Justin Upton from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for pitching prospect Grayson Long.  Although Long is a very good pitching prospect, Upton is an all-star outfielder.

So for the rest of the 2017 season the LA Angels had a star left fielder which they hadn’t had in almost a decade when Garret Anderson roamed left field in 2008.  Upton produced seven homers and 15 RBI’s in September, but unfortunately the Angels could rally from a 1.5 game deficit to make the last wild-card spot.  However, Upton and the Angels liked each other enough to decide to negotiate a contract extension that will keep Upton in Anaheim for the next five seasons.

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Upton will now reside right in the middle of the Angels line-up for the foreseeable future and that will make the Angels a much stronger team.  Upton is a career .270 hitter with a .350 OBP who has 256 homers and 812 RBIs and 138 stolen bases.  He is also a strong defender in left as he was a finalist for the Gold Glove in 2017 as well as being a Silver Slugger. Upton has also been a four-time all-star.

Of course if you have been following the Angels over the past month you know Upton will have some reinforcements including former Tigers teammate Ian Kinsler and Reds infielder Zack Cozart.  Additionally the Angels will also have Shohei Ohtani a two-way Japanese star that will add some extra power to the Angels line-up to go along with the power that Upton will already add.

With all this protection around him Upton should get some good pitches to hit and that could lead to a career year for the 30-year old Upton.  So where will Angels manager Mike Scioscia decide to bat Upton in the line-up?  This is up for debate, but most likely it will be in either the third or fourth spot.  The line-up may also be different depending on if Albert Pujols or Ohtani is in the designated hitter role.

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The line-up could look like the following :  Kinsler, Cozart, Trout, Upton, Ohtani, Pujols, Calhoun, Simmons, and Maldonado.  Simmons could also occupy the second spot and Cozart could end up in the seventh spot.  There are many options for Mike Scioscia to look at, but the main part of the line-up will be Mike Trout and Justin Upton.  Both have potential to hit 30 plus homers and drive in 100 plus runs.  This is definitely the best Mike Trout has ever had around him and it puts a little less pressure on both Trout and Upton to be the only major run producers.  There are definitely power in numbers.

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With the addition of Upton the Angels line-up will be the best it has been in 10 years, now if the Angels pitching can hold its own this could be a special season.  One can only hope.