Detroit Tigers: Delving Into Justin Upton’s Stats and Splits

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Sep 2, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Justin Upton (10) singles during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Justin Upton (10) singles during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Justin Upton has just signed with the Detroit Tigers. Here’s a look at some of his numbers to give an idea of what to expect from the slugger in Motown.

The newest Detroit Tigers player comes with quite the resume. Former first-overall pick Justin Upton is has been to three All-Star games in addition to winning two Silver Slugger Awards.  What’s more, he is a constant source of power and a dependable fielder in both outfield corners.

With the Tigers, Upton will play left field and hit in a lineup that also includes Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez.

The left fielder will likely hit either second or sixth in the imposing batting order. Here are some stats and splits to know about Upton.

Aug 26, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Justin Upton (10) rounds the bases after hitting a solo homer against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. The San Diego Padres won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Justin Upton (10) rounds the bases after hitting a solo homer against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. The San Diego Padres won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

On-Base Percentage

At the onset of the offseason, one of Upton’s fellow free agents (and left fielders) was a potential fit with Detroit. That would be Alex Gordon. A certain writer at this very website even suggested that the Tigers should sign Gordon citing, in part, his excellent on-base skills. However, it would seem that the team made the better choice in signing Upton.

During the last five seasons, perhaps the best of Gordon’s career, the longtime Royal has a .359 OBP. During Upton’s last five seasons, his OBP is .352.

Over that same span, Upton averages eight more home runs and 10 more RBI per season than Gordon. He’s also two years younger.

Against Right-Handed Pitching

There has been some worry about the Detroit Tigers’ lineup being too heavy on right-handed hitting.

However, Upton’s numbers suggest it shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Justin Upton career versus right-handed pitching: .271 batting average, .342 OBP, .463 slugging percentage, .805 OPS.
  • 2015 league average versus right-handed pitching: .254 batting average, .316 OBP, .407 slugging percentage, .723 OPS.

Against Different Teams

While this is Upton’s first go around in the American League, it isn’t his first time facing American League Central opposition. The sample sizes are somewhat small, but the 28-year-old left fielder is a .455 career hitter against the Chicago White Sox and a .306 hitter versus the Royals. Upton has also managed a .286 batting average when playing against the Indians.

Due to his time spent in the National League, the outfielder hasn’t logged a ton of at-bats against current American League pitching. One pitcher he has faced a number of times is Kansas City ace Edinson Volquez. In 17 at-bats, Upton has eight hits, four doubles and three RBI.

Comerica Park Splits

In only nine games at Detroit’s Comerica Park, Justin Upton is a .324 hitter with one home run, one stolen base, three RBI, six runs scored and four walks in nine games at the Tigers’ home stadium.

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Ahead in the Count

Upton is a .311 hitter, and has a 1.063 OPS, in 1881 plate appearances when he is ahead in the count.

Hitting Second and Sixth

Thankfully, Upton has plenty of experience hitting in the second and sixth spots in the batting order. The former San Diego Padre has logged 448 plate appearances as the lineup’s second batter. During those 448 plate appearances, Upton has 25 doubles, 21 home runs, 53 RBI, a .279 batting average, a .365 on-base percentage, a .504 slugging percentage and a .869 OPS.

When hitting sixth (152 plate appearances), Upton is a career .304 hitter with eight doubles, seven home runs, three triples, 21 RBI and three stolen bases. In addition to his .304 batting average, the outfielder has a .342 OBP, .558 slugging percentage and an even .900 OPS.

Next: Tigers Now Division Favorites with Justin Upton

Outlook

Baseball Reference.com projects that Upton will smash 24 home runs, drive in 76 runs, steal 10 bases and hit .260 with an .800 OPS for the Detroit Tigers in 2016. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he significantly exceeded those numbers.

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