Justin Upton has had a very poor start to his multi-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. In his first year of the six-year deal, Upton’s managed a sub-.300 OBP and sub-.400 SLG, which he hasn’t done since 2007, the first season he played in the majors.
The Tigers are fighting for a playoff spot right now, so they could really use a Justin Upton more like the recent past. On Sunday, he gave the Tigers a little bit of that. Against lefty Henry Owens, Upton hit a pair of three-run shots in a 10-5 victory over the Red Sox.
They were ... powerful home runs. No doubters. The kind that create a nauseous pit in the stomach of the pitcher.
Statcast caught the measurements of both home runs. One was 108.8 mph, and the other was 112.1 mph. Both had a launch angle of 29 degrees. Before Sunday’s blasts, Baseball Savant registered eight batted balls with a launch angle of 29 degrees (which seems odd ... probably a result of how the filters were applied to the query). Three of them were home runs. There were 2,273 batted balls with a launch angle between 28 and 30 degrees, and about 24 percent of them went for home runs. The average exit velocity for those 2,273 batted balls was about 90.8 mph. That 112.1 mph shot was Upton's sixth hardest-hit ball of the season (of those batted balls that registered an exit velocity).
Long story short, Justin Upton destroyed those pitches.