B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Rays lived up to his potential this September, his hot streak contributing to the Rays surge toward the playoff. After hitting .223/.308/.390 through the end of August, Upton upped his numbers to .311/.408/.557 in September. Why the surge for the Rays centerfielder?
Most of the season pitchers worked Upton away:
Notice that pitchers seldom come inside to Upton, and B.J. was willing to go with the pitch. While he tends to pull his home runs, his singles and other extra base hits get spread out across the field. However, he hits for a much higher average on the inside pitch that he can pull.
In September, pitchers gave him more of a chance to pull the ball:
Hurler still try to pitch him away, but they're leaving a higher percentage of their pitches where B.J. and pull the ball. Most of his hits in September are to the left side. It will be interesting to see if Upton can continue to pull the ball successfully, or if this is just a small sample size anomaly.