Many times before and during this season, I’ve reiterated the idea that Justin Upton will be the Angels’ X-Factor this season and I still strongly believe that.
The 33-year-old is slashing .240/.301/.467 through 20 games and is tied for third on the team with five home runs and fourth with 12 RBI. Similar to Pujols, I think a .300 batting average is out of the question, but if Upton continues these offensive trends it will result in positive outcomes for the Halos.
Upton ranks third on the team with a 92.5 MPH average exit velocity and he’s fourth in hard-hit percentage (51%). He’s also fifth on the Angels with a 117 wRC+ and has delivered a .250 batting average with runners in scoring position this season.
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The former All-Star is in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak and holds a .279 batting average with four home runs and seven RBI in that span.
This Angels lineup is a lot better than with Upton producing, plain and simple. He brings another element and adds more potential to what’s already a Top-10 MLB offense.
Angels: Justin Upton is building up his trade value.
Upton has two-years, $52.7 million remaining on his current deal before becoming a free agent in 2023. If the Angels fall out of contention by the deadline, I think he will be a slugger getting looked at by contending teams, so long as he continues his current offensive trends. It might take the Halos absorbing the burden of his contract in a salary dump similar to the Dexter Fowler trade, but it’s not out of the question given the young outfield prospects waiting for their shot in the big leagues.
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It’s going to take a lot more than just Trout and Ohtani to carry the team offensively this season, and right now Pujols and Upton are doing their parts to contribute.
It hasn’t been picture perfect, but it’s been enough to help the Angels win games.