Justin Upton-Angels 2021 home run leader (40-plus HR)
This is probably not who you were expecting to see as the Angels 2021 home run leader with 40-plus. However, I believe this will be a comeback season for left fielder Justin Upton.
A healthy Justin Upton will be bad news for opposing pitchers in 2021.
For this to take place a few things need to happen.
The first being Upton needs to stay healthy. He’s been hampered by injuries the past few seasons which has also affected his performances on the field.
The second thing that needs to take place is he needs to be playing well overall. That sounds obvious, and it is, but if Upton is going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts consistently he’s going to lose playing time regardless how how much he’s getting paid. Last season Joe Maddon placed Upton on the bench after poor performances, and he won’t be afraid to do it again. His job is safe for now, but the closer the young outfielders (Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh) are to getting called up, the better chance they have to replace Upton if he is struggling.
In his 15-year career Upton has never eclipsed the 40-home run mark in a season. The closest he’s come was finishing with 35 in 2017, and he’s had four seasons of 30-plus in the big leagues.
Upton launched his first home run of 2021 in Saturday’s 5-3 win, a go-ahead two-run blast in the eighth inning against the White Sox.
One down, 39 or more to go.