Are Jason Heyward, 23; Justin Upton, 25; and B.J. Upton, 28, ready to reach their enormous promise all at once as the outfield trio of the Atlanta Braves? It's a frightening prospect to consider for the division-rival Washington Nationals after Atlanta acquired the younger Upton on Thursday in a trade with the Diamondbacks.
All have speed, power and MVP potential, but questions remain about the Upton brothers, who have been criticized for their lack of fire. B.J. Upton, who signed as a free agent, appeared to be a can't-miss superstar when he hit .300 with 24 home runs and 22 steals in 129 games as a 22-year-old for Tampa Bay. But since then, he has never come within 100 points of his 2007 OPS of .894.
Justin Upton leveled off last year to 17 home runs, 18 steals and a .280 average after collecting 31 home runs, 21 steals and batting .289 in 2011 (.898 OPS).
Is the criticism of the Uptons justified? The answer will come with their stay in Atlanta. Pairing up brothers who are too cool for school could be cancer-causing or a turning point.
- Kevin Dunleavy