#3 Justin Upton (OF) San Diego Padres
The former #1 pick in the 2005 draft is scheduled for free agency for the first time and at the age of 28, Upton is arguably the best hitter available in this season’s class. Upton had a very average season in 2015, but did so in the spacious confines of Petco Park. His numbers were even better at home versus the road, so he has proven he can hit anywhere.
Upton hit .251 with 26 home runs and 81 RBIs for the Padres and stole 19 bases. He put up a very respectable 4.4 WAR rating in 2015, and has a total WAR earned of 24.7 in his nine Major League seasons. The younger brother of Melvin Upton Jr. will be due for a huge pay-day. Upton’s value will surely eclipse the $100 million mark and could exceed $150 million if he gets lucky on the open market.
It will take a team around $20-25 million per season for at least seven seasons to land Upton. He is a well-established Major Leaguer in the prime of his career. It is worth noting that the Padres will offer Upton a qualifying offer, and any team signing him will lose a high draft pick. Shouldn’t be an issue as the team that adds Upton will be in great shape financially.
Justin Upton still has yet to put it all together. That’s the scary thing here. If he can cut down on his high strikeout rate, his average would climb. He has legit power, but has only hit over 30 home runs in a season once in his career. Upton has also only driven in 100 runs once in his career. Surrounded by a great supporting class, those numbers could easily be surpassed, but it is troubling that he hasn’t yet put it all together offensively. He could be a huge upgrade for a team offensively and depending on where he plays, could develop even more as a hitter.
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