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Justin Upton Leads NL in Strikeouts Looking | May
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Justin Upton got off to a slow start in 2012, as discussed here last week. One area that has been particularly frustrating for Upton and for Diamondbacks fans is that he has struck out looking a league leading 20 times through his first 39 Games.  Upton's overall strikeout rate in 2012 has increased from 18.7% in 2011 up to 23.8% in 2012, but that is actually the same as his career strikeout rate. The difference in 2012 is that is that for his career, about 30% of Upton's strikeouts have been looking, while this year that rate has shot up to 53%.

Upton is tied for 15th in the National League in total strikeouts, but ranks #1 in the NL in strikeouts looking:

Rank Player Looking Strikeouts
1 Justin Upton 20 38
2 Rickie Weeks 19 53
3 Drew Stubbs 17 47
4 Corey Hart 16 47
5 Cameron Maybin 15 37
5 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 15 48
5 Ike Davis 15 39
8 Chase Headley 14 43
8 Jordan Schafer 14 46
10 Miguel Montero 12 39

Among those in the Top 25 in strikeouts, Upton also has the highest percentage of strikeouts looking in the NL. He's one of only two players who are over 40% in strikeouts looking, and the only NL player over 50%.

Rank Player Strikeouts Looking % Looking
1 Justin Upton 38 20 53%
2 Cameron Maybin 37 15 41%
3 Ike Davis 39 15 38%
4 Drew Stubbs 47 17 36%
5 Rickie Weeks 53 19 36%
6 Corey Hart 47 16 34%
7 Chase Headley 43 14 33%
8 Kirk Nieuwenhuis 48 15 31%
9 Miguel Montero 39 12 31%
10 Jordan Schafer 46 14 30%

Looking at Upton's previous stats on strikeouts looking, this rate of 53% is way over his previous numbers:

Year Strikeout Rate % Looking Total K
2007 24.3% 35% 37
2008 29.0% 31% 121
2009 23.3% 26% 137
2010 26.6% 29% 152
2011 18.7% 28% 126
2012 23.8% 53% 38
TOTAL 23.8% 30% 611

Upton has only been swinging at 40.9% of the pitches he has seen this year, down from his career rate of 43.9%, and his high of 46.6% in 2011. He has been unhappy with the umpires' calls of balls and strikes for most of the season, but it is clear that he needs to do a better job of protecting the plate once he gets two strikes.