Up, Up, and J-Hey; The Debut of the Braves Outfield

By: Salem Vance

Only one month ago, the Atlanta Braves set the world of professional baseball abuzz by trading their star infielder Martin Prado for right fielder Justin Upton in a seven-player deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The trade not only added a powerful outfielder to the Braves, but also served as a family reunion of sorts.

Justin Upton now joins his brother, B.J. Upton, in the Atlanta outfield. According to Justin, having his brother as a teammate will only help his performance on the field. In the New York TimesĀ article, “Sharing a Surname, a Team, and an Outfield”, Upton states, “Being able to show up to the ballpark with my brother, being excited to be there everyday– the more energy you can bring to the yard every day, that’s going to make you a better player. Having someone you’re comfortable with, that will help a lot.”

NL and AL executives agree that the trade not only deserves attention for the personal backstory, but also for the potential success of the Braves’ new outfield. The combination of star right-fielder Jason Heyward and the Upton brothers creates an intimidating force in the outfield. In the ESPN article, “Braves bring Upton brothers together,” a National League executive admits, “It’s a scout’s dream, it’s three five-tool players. That’s what you’ve got in one outfield.”

After the hype generated around the Braves new outfield in January, the team finally got to debut their new lineup this past week with the start of spring training. The first three games were anti-climatic with losses to the Tigers, Yankees, and Pirates.

However, the Upton brothers came to bat yesterday, February 25, against the Marlins. Justin Upton’s first hit of his Braves career was a monstrous home run. The new outfielder sent the ball over 450 feet. Justin finished the game with another home run while his brother and Jason Heyward also contributed noteworthy hits. The game yesterday confirmed the potential surrounding the Braves’ new superheroes. The Atlanta Braves will be a team to watch this season.

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