Brothers in (Outfield) Arms
For some reason, as a kid, I thought it was cool when brothers played in The Show. The earliest pair I remember is Larry and Norm Sherry, battery-mates for the Dodgers, my team as a boy. Of course, I knew about the DiMaggios and the Waners, from way before my time.
Living in the Bay Area, I witnessed the three Alou brothers - Felipe, Mateo, and Jesus - but there were also the Niekros, and during my Strat-O-Matic years, the Iorg boys, Dane and Garth.
There were the Aarons - Tommie, and his big brother Hank - who, as noted by Brendon Boyd in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping and Trading Book, carried their sibling rivalry beyond the norm, playing the same position at the same time on the same team. Funny though the Aaron brothers still lead the majors in total homers as brothers with 768, though Tommie only whacked 13 of them.
Justin, like his bro B.J., still entices
So, there is that curse, in some cases of being compared, like Dmitri and Delmon Young, and having to live up to that skill set, and so often disappointing, like so many prospects do. For it is one thing to be cursed with the talent to be a major league player; it is quite another to have to be held up to one's sibling at the big league level.
This brings us to the Upton brothers, Justin and B.J., both of whom have so much promise, both of whom have been so highly touted, and both of whom have enjoyed just enough success to validate the notion of that promise.
Of course, with that success then disappointment came. For B.J. Upton, who was electric during the 2008 postseason, belting seven homers, the outfielder seems to have come up short for fantasy owners for the next two campaigns.
Brother Justin Upton dazzled with a .300-26-86 season in 2009, and as a 21-year-old looked to be invoking one-Upton-manship, as the D-back flychaser passed his aged - 24 years old at the time - sibling up with his stat total.
Last year, though, Justin disappointed, just as B.J. sort of has since 2009. I say sort of as last year, though B.J.'s .237-18-62 totals don't seem worthy of a top three round selection in a standard 15-team snake, his year was a lot better than the totals suggest.
That is because of the 38 doubles, and 42 swipes, and since B.J. played a career high 154 games in 2010, and since he is still just 25, there is very little reason to not think the best lies ahead.
As for Justin, who goes into 2011 at age 23, his .273-16-69 year of last was similarly better than it seems, with 18 swipes, two fewer than the season before, and 27 doubles, just three below the 2009 benchmark, and a still respectable .356 OBP.
The counterpoint, though, is that in all my 2011 mocks, both the Upton boys have dropped in stature.
In the FSTA Draft, a 13-team standard 5x5, Justin held his own being selected as #11 in the third round, but B.J. dropped to the first pick of the sixth round, quite a fall for a player who had 60 extra-base hits and more than 40 swipes a year earlier.
In the Sports Illustrated H2H league, which has 12 teams, and definitely more focus on pitching, Justin fell to the fifth pick of the sixth round, and I snagged B.J. with the 10th selection of the ninth round.
The subtext for both of the Uptons is that they are well enough thought of, but not close to the anticipated hype each has generated with his respective appearance on the national scene.
Personally, I intend to take advantage of the displeasure the masses have had with the Upton brothers this year. I suggest you consider the same.
Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.