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|Is Justin Upton really the answer for Seattle? Is the 25-year-old hitter worth a young top prospect?|
So, if the Mariners want to continue pursuing Upton, they have to decide how much more they want to give up to get him. They’ve already settled on the players going to Arizona -- now the question is how much cash will change Upton’s mind. That could be in the form of a contract extension, but for a player in Upton’s situation, he might not want to sign a long term commitment before getting a chance to play in his new home, especially since he’s on track to hit free agency after his age 27 season. Instead of an extension, perhaps the Mariners' best bait is to either shorten the commitment, or to give him a player option.
One executive says #mariners were "clearly overpaying'' for Upton and are "fortunate'' trade with #dbacks fell through.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 11, 2013
Regression is just a fact of life when it comes to split data, and if you’re not heavily regressing splits, you’re probably using them incorrectly. ...
This is noise. This is why you regress, even large samples. And this is why you’re better off using something like wRC+, which takes known park factors into account, then you are using a player’s individual home/road splits. Or, better yet, use a projection system that also accounts for aging curves and park adjustments.
Whatever you do, though, don’t just look at a player’s road stats and assume that it’s a window into his real talent level, with the difference between his home and road stats being a mirage of the park he played in. That’s simply not how home/road splits work.
But his park-adjusted isolated slugging has gone from .223 to .162 to .227 to .142 over the past four years. It's probably not a coincidence that Upton's rate of pulling fly balls mirrors the changes in slugging, going from 40 percent to 29 percent to 48 percent to 33 percent.
The 2010 and 2012 seasons are concerning, but 2009 and 2011 show that Upton can post All-Star level numbers. In Upton's case, with his stable approach, skills and young age, I can't find a reason why he will deviate from his performance when it comes to projecting his next three seasons combined.