Melvin Upton wasn’t supposed to be good.
Wait, he might not be good. But there’s a decent chance he is good, and it’s a pleasant surprise in a season that has started with mostly not pleasant surprises and some other not pleasant non-surprises.
Not only are Upton’s statistics looking good—through Saturday’s game he’s hitting .293/.341/.463—but his indicators/peripherals/whatever-you-want-to-call-these-things are looking good too, and 12 games into the season they matter a lot more than conventional stats. You can probably find a 12-game stretch where Wiki Gonzalez hit like Tony Gwynn.
Hold on a second.
*opens new browser, heads to Baseball Reference, searches through game logs*
In 2001, Gonzalez had a 12-game stretch from August 25th through September 18th where he hit .394/.444/.515.
What’s encouraging about Upton is that he isn’t just getting lucky—he’s hitting the ball with authority, and he’s doing it consistently. I checked his batted-ball exit velocities at Baseball Savant, and they look good. Upton’s averaged a 93.61 mph exit velocity so far in 2016, which ranks him 25th in the majors out of 192 hitters with at least 20 events tracked, and ahead of players like Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt, and Brother Justin.