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Archive for May 10th, 2007

uptonfollowthrough.jpgB.J. Upton is actually Melvin Emanuel Upton. Melvin’s dad was nicknamed “Bossman”, and hence he became “Bossman Junior”. Get it?

B.J. has been flirting with the show for the past three years, getting 12 RBI out of 45 games in ’04, 10 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 50 games in ’06, and then breaking out this year in his first (hopefully) full season with the Devil Rays’ big club. A mere 30 games this season have produced 22 RBI and a nice .349 average with .613 slugging. Of course, by really looking at these numbers, I now realize that Bossman Junior doesn’t qualify for Smells Like Pujols, because he got too many at-bats in previous seasons, but that’s OK, we’re forging ahead with this profile, relevance-be-damned.

Need a charismatic celebrity pitchman? B.J. is available:

On second thought, maybe not. The nervous hat award logo thingy bending and rapid-fire delivery might make him a perfect fit as official spokesman of The Extrapolater, however. “HiI’mBJUptonIreadExtrapolatereverydayandI’mheretotellyouthisisoneof-
thefunniestandsmartestblogsintheknownuniversebarnone”.

Seriously, though. B.J. is just one of the talented young players making the Devil Rays fun to watch. He’s not the guy who threw the bat an an umpire, and he’s not the guy from Japan, and he’s not the guy who sounds like a soft-core porn star. And he’s definitely not Elijah “Put Up Your” Dukes. He’s the nice guy from a Christian Academy in Virginia, and there’s another one just like him on the way up.

B.J. struggled with his defense in the minors, committing 53 errors at Short for the Durham Bulls in 2005. The Rays have made use of his versatility by trying him out all over the infield and in left in ’04, and then moving him to third in ’06, where he bobbled 13 times in limited action. This year, 2B is the thing, where his 9 E’s are no doubt ameliorated by his 22 RBIs, 18 Rs, and 5 SBs. He’s like alphabet soup out there.

magic8ball.gifKeep an eye on Bossman Junior this year. He’s a classic case of “Does his offense make up for his defense?” Given the potential for drama that is built into this lineup, that’s probably one saga the Devil Rays can live with, as long as the magic 8-ball keeps coming up with ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES.

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