Justin Upton Hopes for More Consistency Playing Alongside his Brother in Atlanta

January 30, 2013 – 8:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

Justin Upton was hardly a model of consistency in Arizona. He hit 26 home runs in 2009, followed by years with 17, 31 and 17 again, with RBI numbers fluctuating accordingly. After a monster offseason trade, Upton landed alongside brother B.J. in Atlanta, where he says he’ll strive for more consistency.

Justin Upton joined 680 The Fan in Atlanta with Buck and Kincade to discuss playing with his brother for the Atlanta Braves, what it was like growing up with B.J., how they’re alike and different, if Atlanta was where he wanted to land, one thing he wants to do differently in Atlanta, the pressures of being a No. 1 pick and where he’ll hit in the batting order.

How exciting is it to get to share an outfield with your brother at the MLB level?:

“It’s exciting. It’s kind of fun to be talking about right now, but once spring training hits and we’re really out there together, I think it’ll be a different feeling. I think it’s going to be great. I think we’re going to get along well, and it’s a great opportunity.”

What were you guys like growing up?:

“We were pretty competitive. We didn’t play on the same team until we got to high school, but in the front yard, back yard, playing in the neighborhood, we were always real competitive. It was him always winning and me trying to beat him. With him being three years older, it was a tough go for me, but I eventually caught up to him.”

How are you guys different from one another?:

“We’re about 30 pounds different. … I think, more than anything, B.J.’s going to be a little more quiet. I’m kind of a emotion-on-the-sleeve kind of guy. We’re just totally different personalities. I think it’s one of those things where you have to run into both of us or talk to both of us to tell the differences, but we’re two totally different people.”

What do you know about Jason Heyward? It’s got to be exciting thinking about that outfield:

“Jason, he’s a great player. I’ve been able to watch him play since he came into the league and playing against him. Everybody can hit, everybody can run and catch the ball and we’ll figure out who’s covering what in the outfield, but it should be fun. It’s going to be an adjustment for all three of us, obviously, but once we get into spring it’s going to be fun.”

Was Atlanta your top spot of places to land?:

“Yeah. At that point, I don’t really have any control or anything, except for three or four teams that I was able to block trades to. But in my mind, playing with my brother was obviously No. 1. It’s something I didn’t think was going to happen, but it happened and we’re excited about it.”

What’s one thing on the field you want to go differently for you?:

“I want to win a World Series; that’s always a goal. … Personal performance? I think more than anything, just being consistent, being a consistent force — being able to drive in runs, steal some bases. Those are things I’ve done in the past, but kind of taking it to another level.”

On the pressures of being a No. 1 pick:

“It’s been up and down. I’ve had good seasons and I’ve had decent seasons. It’s been pretty up and down. Looking back on it, I was 20, 21, 22 years old. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but once I was able to get comfortable, I think the last few years, the last two years I have gotten better at being a little bit more consistent. The numbers don’t always show that happening. The way you get to those numbers is the consistency.”

On potentially being the No. 3 hitter in the lineup:

“That’s where I’ve hit my entire career. Not saying that’s where I have to hit, but that’s where I’m pretty comfortable there. I’ve hit 4 and 5 also, so any of those three places, or anywhere else, this lineup is so good, you really can’t complain about where you hit.”

Listen to Justin Upton on 680 The Fan in Atlanta here

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