Former Ray BJ Upton to go by ‘Melvin Upton Jr.’ this season

February 23rd, 2015 by Staff

Upton struggled in 2014 and has hit just .198 since joining the Braves.

(CBSSPORTS.COM) ATLANTA, Ga. – It seems that we have another “Giancarlo Stanton Scenario” in Major League Baseball. As our own Mike Axisa reported Friday night, Atlanta Braves outfielder B.J. Upton plans on putting “Upton Jr.” on his jerseys this season — in deference to his (and Justin Upton’s) dad, Melvin Emanuel “Manny” Upton Sr. What wasn’t clear at the time, though, was that Upton Jr. was dropping the “Bossman Junior” nickname, at least as it relates to how we refer to him in baseball.

Jeff Schultz
#Braves exec John Hart made passing reference to “Melvin” (B.J.) Upton, then confirmed player will go by Melvin Upton Jr, this season.
12:57 PM – 22 Feb 2015

There you go. We don’t have all of the “why?” yet, but Upton Jr.’s decision might have something to do with how he’s performed in two seasons with the Braves. Since signing a $72.5 million deal for five years before the 2013 season, Upton Jr. has been one of the worst players in the league, and it’s not hyperbole. He has batted .198/.279/.314 in 1,028 plate appearances since coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Upton Jr. has tried different approaches, he’s tried different glasses, he’s probably tried everything. Now, he’s changing his name — or at least changing what we should call him.

In what was a different personal journey, the former Mike Stanton of the Miami Marlins (who used to be called the Florida Marlins) made a similar decision three years ago. Stanton was born “Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton,” but back in middle school nobody seemed to pronounce Giancarlo correctly, so he switched to Mike. In 2012, ready to be his own guy again, Stanton reverted to Giancarlo.

So, what effect will this have on Upton Jr.’s hitting? In itself, none, but if it’s part of a process that gets him back to basics, and to a point where he can start producing as he used to, then good for Melvin Upton Jr. Although, it’s going to be hard to ditch the “B.J.” nickname immediately. But hey, nobody hardly calls Giancarlo Stanton “Mike” anymore. Stanton never had a two-year slump like Upton Jr., though.

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