Results tagged ‘ Justin Upton ’

D-backs Keep Budding Superstar in Phoenix Part II

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In the last blog post, we compared Justin Upton to some of the best young hitters historically, in this post we’ll compare this contract with the deals signed by some of the other young stars in the league.

 

Since the mid 1990s, it has become a common trend for teams to reach four-to-six year deals with players as they near free agency, in most cases buying out arbitration years and a year or two of free agency. Here is Upton’s deal compared to the deals signed by some of the other young stars of the game, sorted by the OPS each had with a similar amount of service time.

 

 - – - – - – - – - – - Age – Service Time – - Years – - – OPS – - – Contract

Ryan Braun  - – - – 24 – - – 1.129 – - – 2007-08 – - – .937 – - – 8 years (2008-15), $45M

Hanley Ramirez  - 23 – - – 2.014 – - – 2005-07 – - – .889 – - – 6 years (2009-14), $70M

Evan Longoria  - – 23 – - – 1.170 – - – 2008-09 – - – .883 – - – 6 years (2008-13), $17.5M

Justin Upton  – - – 21 – - – 2.060 – - – 2007-09 – - – .836 – - 6 years (2010-15), $51.25M

Nick Markakis  - – - 23 – - – 2.000 – - – 2006-07 – - – .826 – -  6 years (2009-14), $66.1M

Ryan Zimmerman 23 – - – 2.032 – - – 2005-07 – - – .812 – - – 5 years (2009-13), $45M

Troy Tulowitzki  - – 23 – - – 2.033 – - – 2006-08 – - – .781 – - – 6 years (2008-13), $31M

 

It should probably be noted here that Longoria’s number is significantly smaller than the rest, but he signed his contract when he was just six days into his Major League career, so he gave up less in terms of arbitration plus free agency time than the rest.

 

A few other notable position players with similar deals include Dustin Pedroia (6 years, $40.5M), Kevin Youkilis (4 years, $41.125M), David Wright (6 years, $55M), Jose Reyes (4 years, $23M), Jimmy Rollins (5 years, $40M), Carl Crawford (6 years, $33.25M after two exercised options), Robinson Cano (4 years, $30M plus another two options worth $29M).

 

There is always some risk in a long-term deal of course, but the bet the team is making is that this may cost the organization less in the long run than if they waited, played the years out, and watched the player blossom into an All-Star. In a case of a team waiting longer to extend a player, the Braves extended Andruw Jones five years into his big league career back in 2002, and paid $75M over six years to do it. The Phillies signed Chase Utley after three-plus years of big league service and worked out an $85M deal over seven years. The Twins signed Justin Morneau with nearly identical service time to Utley for $80M over six years. They also signed Joe Mauer to a $33M contract over four years, but didn’t buy out any free agency time.

 

The most recent example of a player playing out significantly more service time — and a guy who is fairly comparable to Upton offensively — is Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who had amassed nearly five years of service time before signing an eight year contract worth $152.3 million.

 

The key is timing – the closer a player is to free agency, the closer the contract will be to an open-market deal. The goal for the team is signing the contract early enough that the club potentially saves some money in the long term, but not too early as to risk a player not developing as expected.

 

In this case, comparing Upton’s ability and his contract with his peers, it seems that Upton made the right decision in establishing some significant security this early in his career, and the D-backs made the right decision in guaranteeing themselves eight years of control for one of the best young players in the game while still having enough financial flexibility to work out long-term deals with some of the other young stars on the team.

 

D-backs Keep Budding Superstar in Phoenix

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The D-backs reached agreement Tuesday on a six-year contract for outfielder Justin Upton.

 

The deal covers all three of Upton’s arbitration-eligible seasons, as well as buying his first two free-agency eligible years.

 

On the surface, it seems to be a very strong deal for the D-backs, who not only avoid potentially tense (and potentially expensive) arbitration hearings, but will keep him in a D-backs uniform until he is 28 years old in 2015.

 

Sometimes it can be hard to grasp this in the case of a player we see every day, but Upton is doing historic things.

 

The list of players who not only appear in the Major Leagues at 19, but actually succeed that young is quite short. If you look at the some of the other best players in baseball today — Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Chase Utley, Mark Teixeira, Prince Fielder — only Rodriguez and Cabrera got started as young as Upton.

 

Just being up in the big leagues and playing regularly by 19 says a lot about Upton. Even guys like Fielder, Derek Jeter and Manny Ramirez, all of whom had excellent minor league careers after being drafted out of high school, didn’t crack the big leagues until months after they’d turned 21.

 

Here is a group of 11 players who succeeded in their ages 20 and 21 seasons in the big leagues. Five of these players (Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench and Willie Mays) are already in the Hall of Fame. Three are already locks for it or close (Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Gary Sheffield). Two (Upton and Cabrera) are off to historic starts. Only Andruw Jones seems decisively likely to fall short of the Hall of Fame, and he still had a heck of a career.

 

You shouldn’t take from this any sort of guarantee that they’ll be carving a plaque for Upton in Cooperstown in 2033 or any guarantee that his career will mirror that of anyone on this list. But what you should take from it is that there is a very small and very special group of players who are capable of doing significant damage in the big leagues before they’re even as old as an average college graduate, and based on what Upton has already accomplished in the Major Leagues, he deserves to be on this list.

 

- – - – - – - – - – - -PA – - – AVG – - – OBP – - – SLG – - – OPS – - -OPS+

Williams – - – - – 1338 – - – .336 – - – .439 – - – .601 – - – 1.041 – - – 161

 

Griffey – - – - – - 1299 – - – .313 – - – .382 – - – .503 – - – .885 – - – 145

 

Rodriguez – - – -1315 – - – .329 – - – .383 – - – .564 – - – .947 – - – 141

 

Robinson – - – - -1345 – - – .307 – - – .378 – - – .543 – - – .921 – - – 138

 

Aaron – - – - – - 1174 – - – .299 – - – .347 – - – .499 – - – .846 – - – 125

 

Bench – - – - – - 1199 – - – .284 – - – .332 – - – .459 – - – .791 – - – 123

 

Cabrera – - – - – 1031 – - – .285 – - – .352 – - – .497 – - – .849 – - – 121

 

Upton – - –  - – 1005 – - – .280 – - – .361 – - – .505 – - – .866 – - – 118

 

Mays* – - – - – - 668 – - – .266 – - – .349 – - – .459 – - – .808 – - – 116

 

A. Jones –  - – - 1098 – - – .255 – - – .324 – - – .475 – - – .799 – - – 106

 

Sheffield –  - – - 952 – - – .274 – - – .330 – - – .385 – - – .715 – - – 102

 

* Mays lost about 70 percent of his age 21 season to the Korean War, missed all of 1953, and was excellent in 51 and 54, so he’s probably a little underrepresented here.

 

There was even more to discuss than could fit into one blog post, so I’ll be back with some more Upton later this afternoon.

 

SUBWAY FanFest Already a Hit

Chase Field is already buzzing for FanFest!

 

The doors opened at 9 a.m. for early arrivals, with D-backs season ticket holders and SUBWAY Value Meals customers entering an hour early.

 

At 10 a.m., D-backs fans started streaming in, already in great numbers (with photos to come).

 

Daron Sutton is conducting a Q&A right now on the stage out at center field, and fans are purchasing autograph session tickets at the plaza ticket windows.  Also, check out the yard sale for all sorts of D-backs gear, as well as the memorabilia show for bobbleheads, posters, trading cards and more.

 

D-backs Training Centers personnel are throwing pitches on three fields located in the infield, and FOX Sports Arizona is filming great D-backs fans to air during broadcasts this season.

 

Sports 620 KTAR is broadcasting live, with Mark Reynolds and new first baseman Adam LaRoche on air right now. I just ran into Matt Williams downstairs, and he’ll be joining the crew soon. Justin Upton, Clay Zavada and Ian Kennedy are all hanging out together in the clubhouse, and all three will be participating in various activities soon.

 

You can listen to Sports 620 KTAR’s live broadcast here: http://den-a.plr.liquidcompass.net/player/flash/audio_player.php?id=KTARAM&uid=239

 

I’ll be back with a lot more, including photos, video and audio very soon!

 

 

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