Best Baseball Star (2011)

Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder

Justin Upton made his second All-Star team appearance this year, just as we predicted he would. All it took was playing on a better team than the miserable Snakes squad of last year, when Upton missed the mid-summer classic after having made it in 2009. Upton's young (24 this season), and the desperation of playing on a last-place team got to him in 2010. This season, he was the only Arizona Diamondback to make the cut, until injuries allowed catcher Miguel Montero a roster spot. Upton's destined to be a superhero in his sport, a sure future Hall of Famer. What makes him so special is that he's a solid power hitter, a guy who (when he gets a little older) will challenge the likes of Milwaukee's Prince Fielder and St Louis' Albert Pujols. In a very exclusive club of long-ball hitters, Upton narrowly missed selection to the National League's home run derby squad during All-Star week in Phoenix this summer. Before this season is over, the D-Backs right fielder could still eclipse the year he had in 2009, when he hit .300, with 26 home runs and 86 runs batted in. He was at 15 homers as he went into the All-Star Game and was batting .281 with 46 runs batted in. The downside to Upton is his streakiness. After the All-Star break, he slumped briefly and then surged, with 21 home runs at this writing. Let's hope that manager Kirk Gibson can make him a more consistent player, because Gibson will need him to win that next World Series title we hope for around here.


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