Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton is currently not among the top 15 outfielders for the NL All-Star Game voting. This needs to change. He's putting up huge numbers as a 21 year-old - .322/.396/.592 in 197 plate appearances with 9 HR and 29 RBI (plus a grand slam tonight). Click here to vote for Upton now! You can vote up to 25 times.
Once you're done with that, how about a Q&A with Upton? He was kind enough to answer questions for MLB Trade Rumors.
MLB Trade Rumors: How much trash-talking goes on between you and B.J.? Who's got more skills as an outfielder?
Justin Upton: Not a lot, we are both very supportive of each other and want each other to do well. When we hang out off the field there is a lot of trash talk and a lot of times it takes place on the golf course. We will trash talk about video games or make fun of each other's clothes, but on the field we are very supportive and only want to see each other do well. As for who is the better outfielder, that is a tough one to answer since we play different positions. But...I'll give that nod to B.J. as of today. He has made some amazing catches so far this year and has made some sick throws...but I am working hard everyday to be a better outfielder and I'm not far behind.
MLBTR: Are you starting to enjoy it out there? I read an article from '04 where you said you did not like the outfield.
Upton: It was an adjustment at first, I mean I played shortstop all my life where you are involved in every play on defense in some way. When I was asked to move to the outfield I was skeptical but the more I played out there the more comfortable I felt and the more I learned about the ins and outs of the position and to be honest I would have played whatever position would have gotten me to the big leagues the quickest. The D'Backs had Stephen Drew at shortstop, so the outfield was the fastest way for me to get to the big leagues. So I was all for it.
MLBTR: You'll be eligible for free agency as a 26 year-old, after the 2013 season. People might draw an Alex Rodriguez parallel, especially with you both being No. 1 picks as well. What are your thoughts on that comparison? Do you think the free agent process will be enjoyable?
Upton: To be honest I don't think that far down the road. I am 21 years old and I am only in my second full season, my goal is to stay healthy and be productive this season. If I do what I know I can on the field, the rest will take care of itself, no use stressing about it now. As far as the A-Rod comparisons, I don't like to compare myself to anyone on or off the field. I can only go out there and be myself, I'll leave the comparing to the media.
MLBTR: Was Larry Reynolds an easy choice to be your adviser, since he was B.J.'s agent? Did you have to fend off a lot of agents coming after you?
Upton: I think most people knew that Larry would be my adviser so I didn't get too many people approaching me. There were a few people that didn't know about my relationship with Reynolds Sports that did approach me but I had been close with them since I was 15 when they were working with B.J. so to me it was a no-brainer. To have that stressful part of the process taken out of the equation it made it easier for me to just deal with playing baseball and getting drafted.
MLBTR: Your first big league at-bat was kind of a low-pressure situation...down 11-0, in San Diego against Wil Ledezma. What was going through your head?
Upton: Low pressure for who? Haha - I was a 19 year old kid in his first Major League at-bat, for me there was a ton of pressure. That was a moment I had waited my whole life for, all the hard work and countless hours of sweat and determination all culminated with that at-bat. It was a dream come true and it was over so fast I don't even remember what I was thinking...I was probably thinking, "get a hit!"
MLBTR: Back in May of '08, Larry Reynolds told ESPN's Jayson Stark he'd worry about your contract stuff the following year. Have there been any preliminary extension talks with the D'Backs?
Upton: I let Larry handle all that stuff, my job is to play baseball. I am not going to worry about the contract stuff, not yet at least. I love playing in Arizona, the fans are great. I love my teammates, we are a close-knit bunch and I know we are going to be competitive for a long time in the NL West. I hope I play here for a long, long time but it's too early to worry about all that stuff. If they wanted to talk long-term deal, I would certainly listen but for now I am just playing the game, having fun and looking to win ballgames.
MLBTR: Your signing bonus was a record at the time, but Stephen Strasburg might quadruple it. What are your thoughts on that?
Upton: Good for him, I hope he gets every penny he deserves. I am very happy with the signing bonus I got and I am only concerned with the D'Backs' draft and getting guys that can help our team going forward.