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An ode to Melvin Upton Jr.

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Remembering BJ’s best moments as a Padre.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

A little over a year ago, A.J. Preller wrapped up his whirlwind offseason by bringing Craig Kimbrel to San Diego hours before the first game of the season. But he came with an albatross named Melvin Upton Jr. The Braves signed the elder Upton to a five-year $72 million contract in 2012 only to see a disastrous two seasons in Atlanta. So they sent him packing, and he started last year on San Diego’s disabled list while is brother opened the season in left field for the Padres. If you’d asked me then which Upton I’d be saddest to see leave, I’d have told you Justin, obviously. And I’d have been very, very wrong.

Melvin has had an incredible resurgence this season, turning up the power with sixteen homers (three of them walkoffs), while also capitalizing on his speed for an even twenty stolen bases, including a straight steal of home. And that’s just on offense. In the outfield, he’s been a human highlight reel. So let’s send him out right with a countdown of his biggest moments.

5. BJ still got it

If you want a look at Upton’s return to slugging form, this is the bomb to watch. The first of three highlights from this game to make the list is the longest homer by a Padre this season, going 465 feet to bounce off the batter’s eye.

4. Walkoffs!

It’s impossible to pick a favorite walkoff homer, so here are all three of them. I wouldn’t judge you at all if you watched them over and over and over again.

3. Sliding catch robs a hit from Kim

This is the first of two highlights from this game, and while it pales in comparison to the play in the number one slot, on it’s own it’s a gorgeous sliding grab to send Baltimore’s Hyun Soo Kim back to the bench.

2. Upton steals home with an incredible slide

Stealing home has to be one of the gutsiest plays in all of baseball. Your timing has to be absolutely perfect, and then your slide has to be just as good, because the ball was going to the plate whether you were stealing or not. And BJ made it look easy. He’s nearly there by the time the pitch arrives, and his slide smoothly evades the tag and lets him flip to plant his left hand on the plate for the run.

1. Upton robs Hardy and doubles up Trumbo

You knew this was coming. With the game tied in the second inning, the Orioles had Mark Trumbo on first when J.J. Hardy launched one over the center field wall. It should have been a home run, but Upton went over the wall himself and brought it back. But that wasn’t cool enough for Upton, who then doubled up a stunned Trumbo at first to end the inning. It’s the play of 2016 that every Padres fan will remember. Thanks for that, Melvin. We’ll miss you.