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TGIF: Justin Upton in the First Round?

Justin Upton (Paul Jasienski/Getty Images)

I am back from a dinner out with friends, and I decided to wander over to Yahoo! fantasy to see what is going on. To my surprise, Brandon Funston has released his fantasy baseball “Big Board” for the first time this year.

I never really see eye-to-eye with Funston on his picks, especially since he refuses to drop A-Rod in his rankings (even when he missed over a month of last season). Scanning over his picks, I came across a surprise this time. He has put Arizona OF Justin Upton within his first 12 picks, essentially making him a first round pick in most leagues. Uhhhhhhhh…WHAT?!?!?

I tell you, Yahoo! must really have a hard-on for the Upton family. Not too long ago, they were really, really high on Justin’s older brother B.J. For those of you with their minds in the gutter, yes, I did just use the words “hard-on” and “B.J.” in the same paragraph.

Sexual innuendo aside, Yahoo! has a soft spot for the Uptons. They rocketed B.J. to the top of the 2B rankings after he put together a colossal 2007 season where he hit .300 with 24 HR and 22 SB. The apparent allure of the power, speed, and average were too much too pass up for the Yahoo! guys.

Well, B.J. Upton has turned into a flop since. Although he has stolen 40+ bases in two straight seasons, he has hit just 20 total home runs since that breakout 2007 season with a .267 batting average in that time. B.J. was once ranked to go in round 2, but are 40 stolen bases worth it? Obviously not!

Now here we are with brother Justin. The younger Upton enjoyed a breakout 2009 season where he hit .300 with 26 HR and 20 SB. Justin also had to endure a couple of mediocre season before he shined like a star. Just like with brother B.J., Yahoo believes that Justin will deliver on his power, speed, and average. Not just deliver, but put up first round caliber numbers.

I don’t argue that Justin could be a great 25-25 guy, but you want more bang for your buck in the first round. You also want consistency with your pick that early. Funston has the balls to put Upton and his potential ahead of Phillies 1B Ryan Howard. Yeah, the same Ryan Howard who has given us four straight seasons of 45+ HR and 135+ RBI. So Funston would rather roll the dice on Justin Upton than draft a guaranteed power and RBI machine. Funston, your balls are truly bigger than mine.

In Conclusion

Frankly, looking at the numbers, Justin is on the same path as B.J. If Justin ends up dropping his power in 2010 and starts stealing more bases, I will not be shocked at all.

I could actually understand why Yahoo! ranked B.J. so high, since he was eligible at 2B at the time. Justin however is just an outfielder, which is notoriously deep at its position. So I really don’t see the logic behind Funston’s ranking.

Hey if Funston and I were in the same league, I’d be more than happy to let him take Justin Upton so that I could have Ryan Howard.

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