Best Baseball Star (2010)

Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton

First of all, we don't consider baseball players real athletes. They're in a skill sport that doesn't require a lot of running and jumping. (We said "a lot.") Hitters in the sport are more like golfers than basketball players — hand-to-eye coordination being the mark of excellence. So, Justin Upton is no Steve Nash. But he is the best professional baseball player in town — a superhero in his sport — and he's destined (yeah, we'll predict this) for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. That is, he's becoming among the greats at seeing and hitting a major-league fastball. Upton was an All-Star last season, and he didn't make that cut this year — he's not on pace to repeat the .300 batting average, 26 homers, and 86 runs batted in he racked up in 2009. But the Arizona Diamondbacks have sucked in 2010, and Upton's prone to frustration during a long season on such a bad team. But his stats are still respectable (a .273 average, 17 home runs, and 69 RBI at press time), and he still bats in the best hitter/power-hitter spot in the lineup (third). Once the D-Backs improve — and they will, next season, now that they've gotten rid of their ridiculously incompetent general manager and manager — look for Upton to return to All-Star form and become one of the best hitters in the game. He was promising from the start: When the former Virginia high school star, was called up to the D-Backs in August 2007, he was the youngest player in the majors at 19. In 2008, Upton hit a 484-foot round-tripper that was the second-longest in Chase Field history. Baseball's in his genes: His brother B.J.'s a star for Tampa Bay. Justin's the nucleus of the team, somebody to build around. It's not his fault that this year's D-Backs, well, sucked snake.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >