Braves Center fielder B.J. Upton had his (arguably) worst season in 2014. As such, B.J. is making some changes for the upcoming season. Baseball players are superstitious, and Mr. Upton is no exception.
Upton, 30, will no longer be known as “B.J.” Born Melvin Emanuel Upton in 1984, “B.J.” is a nickname in honorable reference to his father Manny, whose own baseball prowess earned him the nickname “Bossman.” Melvin was nicknamed “Bossman Junior” or “B.J.” for short, which he’s carried around for most of his life.
He instead will go by Melvin Upton Jr in this upcoming season. His jersey will read Upton Jr to match the placard on above his locker, which was also recently changed.
He certainly hasn’t yet lived up to the five-year $75.25 million contract he signed in 2012. His slash line of .208/.277/.333 was bad enough to negate any and all trade opportunities the Braves organization wanted to take part in before last season’s trade deadline. Also, no team was willing to pay a significant part of the $46 million owed over the next three seasons.
Upton is looking for a fresh name and a fresh start in his 2015 campaign along with his fresh new outfield. Out are his brother Justin Upton (Padres) and Jason Heyward (Cardinals.) Joining him are Eric Young Jr (Mets) and Nick Markakis (Orioles.)
Before signing the previously mentioned five-year contract, Upton had one of his best all-around professional seasons hitting a slash of .243/.331/.429 along with 23 home runs, 81 RBI, and 36 stolen bases.
He’s just looking for a spark. Here’s to hoping Melvin finds it.