The Braves' outfield of Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, and Jason Heyward is perhaps the most exciting trio in baseball. All three possess a rare combination of power and speed. In fact, each one already has at least one 20-homer/20-steal season on his resume. Granted, 20/20 seasons are a lot more common than they used to be before Willie Mays came along; 10 players posted 20/20 years in 2012, compared to a total of 9 such seasons before Mays' first in 1955. Still, if only around 10 players post a 20/20 in a given year, it must be rare for a team to have three players capable of reaching that dual plateau, as the Braves do. Indeed, this is quite rare. Only twice in MLB history has a team had three 20/20 players in a single season: the 2009 Phillies (Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Jayson Werth) and the 1988 Mets (Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, and Kevin McReynolds). No team has ever had three 20/20 outfielders. The closest any team has come is the 1996 Rockies, who had two 30/30 outfielders (Dante Bichette and Ellis Burks) plus Larry Walker, who went 18/18 despite missing much of the year with injury. In fact, the Braves are only the second team to have an outfield consisting entirely of young (no older than 28*) players with prior 20/20 seasons. The previous example is the 1987-1988 Blue Jays, with their outfield of George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, and Jesse Barfield. Bell and Barfield, however, never came close to stealing 20 bases again; Moseby had another 20/20 year in 1987 but never hit more than 14 homers after that.
Could The 2013 Braves Have Baseball's First All-20/20 Outfield?
Talking Chop | Mar 15