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Swinging more is the key to Upton’s success

Name an offensive statistic and chances are Justin Upton is getting better at it.

Not only has the Arizona right fielder increased his batting average from .273 last year to .302 this year, but he has also drastically improved his knowledge of the strike zone.

According to a fangraphs.com, the average major league hitter strikes out 20 percent of the time. In 2010, Upton struck out in 30.7 of his at-bats, but this season he is only striking out 20.9 percent of the time.

People often think that plate discipline is a result of taking pitches that are out of the zone, but Upton is showing that players can increase their strike zone knowledge by swinging more.

In 2010, Upton swung at nearly 62 percent of pitches thrown in the strike zone. In 2011, Upton is swinging at 71.5 percent of pitches thrown in the zone.

By increasing the amount of pitches he chooses to swing at, Upton has decreased the amount of called third strikes, while increasing the amount of balls he puts in play.

Upton newfound aggressiveness at the plate is certainly paying dividends as the former first overall pick has 12 home runs and 38 RBI this year.

He is also hitting .412 in the month of June and seems to be on one of those runs that players often dream of.


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