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Detroit Tigers: Justin Upton Needs to Stop Hurting the Team

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Jul 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) reacts after striking out during the sixth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) reacts after striking out during the sixth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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There is no time more important than now for Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton to show up at the plate.

Since the current team is loaded with Toledo Mud Hens filling in for Detroit Tigers starters right now, veteran player Justin Upton really needs to show up every single day.

Unfortunately, Upton seems to be doing more harm than good. And, it doesn’t look like there is much that can be done to remedy the situation.

How Bad Is He Right Now

Upton is currently “badding” .230 (I’m keeping that Freudian slip, since he isn’t doing much with the bat anyway). In August, he has all of 7 hits in the 12 games he’s played this month. He has not gotten a hit in 7 out of the 12 games this month. He has scored two runs. That’s it. Two runs. And, he has not gotten one RBI. In August alone, he has a .152 BA. Ugh.

Here’s a little nugget that makes those two runs even more pathetic: Upton has grounded into four double plays (not including the one he had tonight). He has actually prevented more runs from scoring than he has helped to score.

Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Tyler Saladino (18) avoids a sliding Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) after he makes a throw to first to complete a double play in the ninth inning at Comerica Park. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Tyler Saladino (18) avoids a sliding Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) after he makes a throw to first to complete a double play in the ninth inning at Comerica Park. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Keep in mind that in August, the Tigers have scored 48 runs this month. Upton is clearly not carrying his weight. Especially when considering his immense contract.

What About His Teammates

On the flip side, Miguel Cabrera has grounded into two double plays. But, he has scored 7 runs on 19 hits. He also has 11 RBIs. This is just in August.

The only position player who makes more money that Justin Upton on the Detroit Tigers team is Miguel Cabrera. Yet, Upton is performing below the levels of his teammates who are making less than $1 million per year. Upton’s contract is for $22 million. Cabrera and Justin Verlander both have contracts for $28 million in 2016.

J.D. Martinez has significantly out-performed Upton in August. He has grounded into one double play, but he has 8 runs on 17 hits and he has 5 RBIs.

Time to Step It Up

With Nick Castellanos, Jose Iglesias, and Cameron Maybin out of the lineup and two rookie pitchers throwing on the mound, Upton needs to do more for the team. He looks like he needs to have a few days away from the diamond, but the Tigers have so few options on the bench to take his place. With Tyler Collins, Dixon Machado, and Casey McGehee filling in for the three injured starters, there isn’t much room for anyone else to play left field. 

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And, if Cabrera has to sit out a few games, that makes Upton’s bat even more important. He has to begin performing. His current production is unacceptable.

Upton hasn’t just been underperforming at the plate, but his defense has been a bit questionable at times. Yes, he has made a few good catches, but it looks like opposing teams have figured out that he likes to play WAY back in left field. There have been a few too many base hits because balls have landed in front of him. Again…not helping the Tigers get wins.

Next: Michael Fulmer in the Cy Young Race

So far, the big Justin Upton signing has been more of a bust than a boom. He can’t seem to get the job done, especially when the Tigers really need him.

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