Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton is coming off one of his worst seasons in the major leagues in 2020. Due to the shortened season, injuries, and other factors, Upton slashed .204/.289/.422, all three figures ranking in the bottom three of his career.
Despite immense struggles and the fact that he is now entering his age-33 season, Upton has seemed to figure things out in spring training. His slash line in 40 plate appearances has skyrocketed to .378/.425/.811 to go along with four home runs and 10 RBI’s. He has legitimately been one of the Angels top hitters behind Shohei Ohtani.
Upton spoke about his struggles last season and in the seasons prior, saying that this is the first time in a few years he’s been able to fully train in the offseason, according to Daniel Guerrero of MLB.com:
“The last few offseasons, I’ve missed a couple of months of training with either resting an injury or doing some rehab stuff, so I hit the ground running this offseason being able to get my body back in good shape,” Upton said.
In addition to health issues, Upton also referred to adjustments he needed to make at the plate. He feels confident that he has made the necessary fixes and is ready to build off of his strong spring training:
“There were some adjustments I made last year, and flaws that I was made aware of throughout last season that I was able to make a correction on at the end of the year,” he said. “Those patterns are carried to the spring and we continue to build on that.”
A healthy and dialed in Upton is extremely important for the Angels as they enter a critical season. The Angels outfielders not named Mike Trout have done very little to support the generational talent in the past few seasons. Now, with Upton feeling confident and Dexter Fowler in the lineup, perhaps that can change.
Juan Lagares a near lock to grab fourth OF spot
The Angels three starting outfielders were guaranteed quite some time ago. However, there was some questions surrounding who would get the fourth “back-up” spot. The Angels brought on Jon Jay in the offseason, assuming he would be that choice.
However, a strong spring from Juan Lagares led to the release of Jay. Now, Lagares is cleared to grab the fourth and final outfield spot with Opening Day just around the corner.