The first pair of brothers in MLB history to be taken with the top two picks of the draft (Justin was No. 1 in ‘05), Manny’s boys have taken virtually identical paths to the Show. B.J. was called up on Aug. 1, 2004, at the age of 19 years, 346 days. Last Aug. 2, Justin was called up at 19 years, 342 days. When B.J. made his debut, he had 857 minor league at-bats under his belt; Justin had 823. B.J.’s OPS in those ABs was .862; Justin’s was .853. During his initial 45-game stint, B.J. had 8 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers and 12 RBIs. In 43 games last season, Justin had 8 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers and 11 RBIs. Spooky.
That’s not to say the two don’t have their differences. At 6’3” and 185 pounds, B.J. is more fluid and has the quicker first step. Listed at 6’3” (generously) and 205 pounds, Justin is more powerful and boasts higher top-end speed. “He’s got me on the bases,” says Justin, who swiped a not-too-shabby 34 bags in 216 minor league games. “But when it comes to running down balls in the outfield, I got him.”
Although both Uptons are projected as 30-plus homer guys, Justin’s short, compact swing produces more line-drive bombs, while B.J.’s longer, smoother cut leads to more traditional big flies. Justin reminds scouts of Andruw Jones; B.J. draws comparisons to Alfonso Soriano. Justin has nightmares about John Smoltz ("Didn’t touch one ball against him"); B.J. is allergic to Félix Hernández ("Even his slider is in the 90s").