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MLB Today: So Much For B.J. Upton’s Fast Start

April 20, 2011 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Carlos Quentin has been raking for the Chicago White Sox.
Carlos Quentin has been smoking extra-base hits aplenty lately.

The Rays got off to an awful start this season despite B.J. Upton’s blazing first week and a half or so. Ironically, Upton went into the tank just about the time Tampa Bay started to win games.

On Tuesday, the Rays edged the White Sox 2-1 for their seventh win in the past eight games, but Upton took an 0-for-4, striking out twice with runners in scoring position. He’s now mired in a 2-for-21 skid over the past six games and is batting a putrid .143 for the season with RISP, which certainly helps explain his unacceptable total of just five RBI.

Despite the slump, Upton’s average is still higher (.250) right now than it was at the end of either of the last two seasons, but that’s not saying much. He’s only driven in one run over the past nine games and is struggling (2-for-4) in the one area that owners can usually bank on getting value from him — on the basepaths. There had been talk that the Nats were interested in acquiring Upton, but that’s been put on the backburner for now, and honestly, the Rays are better off waiting for him to heat up before trying to peddle their enigmatic centrefielder.

I guess we’ve fallen into the same trap as most Fantasy owners in overrating Upton. Heading into the season, we projected him as the 21st-best outfielder to own, but he’s barely playing at a top 60 clip right now. Fantasy owners are probably well advised to follow Tampa Bay’s example and work on getting rid of Upton the next time he gets on a hot streak.

One outfielder that has exceeded our expectations in the early going is Carlos Quentin of the White Sox. Our pre-season 38th-ranked outfielder has been on a bit of an extra-base tear lately. He doubled in the game-tying run Tuesday, giving him hits in four straight, including three doubles and a homer (the 100th of his career).

We all know the drill with the injury-prone and inconsistent Quentin, but right now he’s delivering top 25 value among outfielders. Ten doubles in 17 games? Woah, that puts him on pace for a ridiculous 95 two-baggers for the season. Obviously, he won’t come anywhere near that many, but Quentin has been quite productive and is batting nearly .310 in the early going, so keep riding him while he’s hot. He’s a career .253 hitter that has never topped .288 in any season, so if you want to try to sell high on him, we can’t see fault in that.

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