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Damning Justin Upton with faint praise
2007-08-11 00:23
by Bob Timmermann

Daron Sutton on the Diamondbacks broadcast Friday night was quite excited that Justin Upton had received his second intentional walk of his career in just his first week.

Actually, Upton has been in the majors for 9 days and his played in 8 games.

And two other players this year have had at least two intentional walks in their first eight games of their career. One is Upton's teammate, Mark Reynolds. He received intentional walks in his second and sixth games. The other was Dodgers third baseman (now in Las Vegas) Andy LaRoche, who had TWO games with TWO intentional walks in his first six games.

Two players in the last 50 years have received THREE intentional walks in their first eight career games. The first was Glenn Bjorkman of the Astros in 1983 and the other was Wil Nieves of the Padres in 2002.

Jeff Salazar received an intentional walk in each of his first two major league games for Colorado last year. He's now in the Diamondbacks organization, which apparently is the place to be if you want to receive intentional walks.

Justin Upton has a very good chance of being a great player. But his intentional walks early in his career have pretty much just been a factor of there being a base open at the right time. His first IBB was on Wednesday against Pittsburgh and he was passed after teammates Orlando Hudson and Eric Byrnes had a double steal to open up first base with one out in a 5-5 game in the fifth. Friday's came in the 7th against Washington with one out and runners on second and third in a 4-4 tie.

The rookie record for IBBs in a season is 16 by Alvin Davis of Seattle in 1984. In the last 50 years, ten rookies have hit 10 IBBs in a season. That list includes Rey Ordonez!

2007-08-11 07:33:44
1.   kylepetterson
As a Yankees fan I can attest to the fact that Wil Nieves is dangerous with his bat.
2007-08-11 09:40:23
2.   JeremyM
I agree, he often lets go of it mid-swing and the thing flies into the stands.

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