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B.J. Upton
Name: Melvin Emanuel Upton
Born: Aug 21, 1984 in Norfolk, VA
High School: Greenbrier Christian Academy, Chesapeake, Va.
Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Drafted in the 1st round (2nd overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2002 (signed for $4,600,000)
Even if the Pirates don't take him, Upton is the consensus top-ranked player in the draft. He has the complete package. He's athletic, has all the tools and is an exciting player to watch. And he's by far the best player at a premium position. On the standard 20-80 scouting scale, he has a 75-80 arm (he can throw 90 mph across the diamond and 92 off a mound) and 70 speed (he runs the 60 in 6.55 seconds). He has good hands and excellent first-step acceleration, which is evident in both fielding balls and running the bases. His range for a middle infielder is outstanding. The only questions concern his bat. He has a wiry build with a chance for power but needs to get stronger. Scouts compare Upton to a young Derek Jeter, right down to the swagger. Upton is further along in his development than Jeter at a comparable age. He's more physically mature than Jeter, who developed his physique in pro ball, and has better power. Upton is just 17 and will play at that age throughout his first professional season. Scouts are curious how he'll handle the pressure of experiencing failure for the first time, since he's rarely failed at any step of his baseball career.
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