Melvin Upton Jr.came into this season with high expectations for himself, but most fans had written him off after two horrible seasons in Atlanta and a first year in San Diego that saw improvement – but not enough to think that he would be able to handle full time outfield duty. I know I was certainly in that camp. So far this season though, he has been hitting in the clean-up spot, hit a game winning home run, getting on base and stealing bases, and showing off what he can do in the field.
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is misplaying the ball off the outfield wall and firing to third base on the fly, Melvin took a different approach in Monday night’s loss to the Giants. He took a smart angle on a single from Brandon Duffy, took his time to square up an fired a strike in the air to second base.
He can cover some ground in the outfield as well, as he showed last Thursday robbingFrancisco Cervelli
of extra bases. He ran hard with some nifty last second extension to make the catch.
Yet his shining moment came last Wednesday in the 9th inning against the Pirates.Matt Joyce
hit an opposite field shot that hung in the Petco Park air. Upton sprinted back with a slight angle to the fence, leapt up and made the catch saving a home run.
With apologies to his brother Justin who played the same position last season for the Padres, his older brother Melvin is playing it much better. Though we can’t forget this catch from Justin.
Defense is one of those aspects of the game the Padres were looking to change their fortunes in 2016. While the bullpen struggles and injuries mount in the rotation and infield, the Padres outfield trio of Jon Jay, Matt Kemp, and Upton Jr have been the most consistent players on the team outside of Wil Myers at first base. Seeing what Upton will do next in the outfield or on the basepaths is becoming a big reason to watch the Padres in 2016.