Braves’ J. Upton wins Silver Slugger award

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Left fielder Justin Upton #8 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run in the second inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Turner Field on August 15, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Credit: Mike Zarrilli

Credit: Mike Zarrilli

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Left fielder Justin Upton #8 of the Atlanta Braves hits a solo home run in the second inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Turner Field on August 15, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Justin Upton had a few extended slumps in 2014, but when the Braves left fielder was hot, there were few players in baseball who could match him. And he was hot a lot.

He had 29 home runs and a career-high 102 RBIs, and Upton was rewarded Thursday with his second National League Silver Slugger Award.

Catcher Brian McCann was a five-time Silver Slugger from 2006-11, but no other Brave won the award since Andruw Jones in 2005.

Upton hit .270 with a .342 OBP and was fourth in the NL in homers, third in RBIs, and sixth in slugging percentage (.491). The only NL outfielder with more homers or RBIs was Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen were the NL’s other Silver Slugger outfielders. Upton won his previous award in 2011 with Arizona, when he hit .289 with a career-high 31 homers.

The only Braves to win consecutive Silver Slugger awards in 15 years were Chipper Jones (1999-2000) and McCann (2006, 2008-11). Will Upton, 27, get a chance to do it?

He’ll make $14.5 million to complete a six-year, $51.5 million contract he signed with the Diamondbacks. Because he’s eligible for free agency after 2015 and might command a contract in excess of $100 million, the Braves could listen to trade offers this winter.

Front-office moves: The Braves' front-office and scouting overhaul continued with six personnel moves, including five hires. Billy Ryan, 34, was named director of baseball operations after four seasons as Diamondbacks assistant GM.

Other hires: Tom Batista, national crosschecker; Marc Russo, director of international operations; Mike Silvestri, director of Latin American scouting, and Lebi Ochoa, senior adviser in player development. Dixie Keller was promoted to manager of scouting operations.

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