J. Upton wins NL Player of the Week
Braves outfielder led Majors in average, OPS, hits and total bases from April 7-13
PHILADELPHIA -- Justin Upton eased into his chair in the visitors' clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park and was serenaded with calls of "Player of the Week" from his teammates as the news corps slowly made its way to his locker.
Upton, in large part due to his headphones, looked surprised at first. He didn't hear the catcalls, but much like he does at the plate, he quickly found a comfort zone.
After posting the most impressive week among baseball's offensive players, Upton was named the National League's Player of the Week for April 7-13.
He led the Majors in batting average (.591), slugging (1.227), on-base percentage (.654) and total bases (27). His four homers were tied for the most in baseball, and his eight runs scored and eight RBIs were tied for first and third in the league, respectively.
"Things have been kind of going my way the last few days," Upton said. "It's something to build on and just trying to take it day by day. I try not to worry about it leaving. It's a tough thing and you try not to worry about it. There are a lot of guys that swung the bat and played very well."
During a torrid weekend sweep of the Nationals, he went 8-for-10 with a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Last season he hit .298 -- including 12 homers -- in the opening month of the season. That's a lot to ask for every season but he seems to be in a very similar place this April.
"I try to find a routine and stick to it," said Upton, who leads baseball in slugging (1.227), on-base percentage (.654) and total bases (27). "You get as comfortable as you can every day. You try not to fight the pitcher and fight yourself.
"You work in the offseason to get to this point to be prepared for the year. You train for the long haul; you want to feel comfortable in September as well."
Upton's start is hard to ignore, especially for manager Fredi Gonzalez, who remembers last April all too well.
"It definitely looks like it did last year," Gonzalez said. "It's hard to forget 12 home runs."
This is Upton's third career weekly award. He won twice in 2011, for the weeks of June 19 and July 24, when he was with the D-backs.
One of Upton's top challengers for Player of the Week honors was teammate Freddie Freeman, whose .442 average entering Monday night's game was third best in the NL. He has six multihit games this season and leads the Braves with 17 hits and 10 RBIs.