I’ve talked about the possibility of Jason Heyward, Brian McCann and B.J. Upton becoming the face of the franchise now that Chipper Jones is enjoying his retirement. It’s only fair that an infielder finally be introduced into the mix. This week I’ll look at a player who has a lot to prove, especially since joining the Braves two years ago…
#26 Dan Uggla 2B
Dan Uggla has been one of the most consistently inconsistent players in all of baseball over the past few years. One week he might hit 5 home runs and knock in a bunch of runs, then go ice cold for the next month. He still manages to put up decent numbers every year, especially for a second baseman, but has remained a question mark in the lineup. This season he is projected to start the year as the number 6 hitter in the lineup. His bating average, slugging percentage and on base percentage all rose dramatically with runners on base as opposed to no one on base last season. He also manages to strike out less often in this situation. Put him in a 2 out situation and the numbers rise even higher. Uggla has enjoyed moderate success as the 6th hitter last season throughout his career as a whole. Maybe being towards the lower end of the lineup behind more consistant hitters is just the boost he needs to have a monster year.
Uggla’s fielding is subject to debate as well. His 12 errors were the third highest in the National League last year among second basemen. He makes up for this by being in the top 5 for both putouts and assists, as well as turning the most double plays. His fielding percentage is also very respectable, falling just outside the top 5 for National League second basemen.
Despite having what might have been the worst offensive year of his career Uggla still managed to play in the All-Star game last year. This shows that although he might not be the most consistent player he is clearly respected by both the fans and MLB personell, and is ready to take on a leadership role. Hopefully he can bounce back and make the All-Star team for the fourth time in his still young career and help get the Braves back to the postseason.
Is Dan Uggla an acceptable candidate to take over Chipper’s mantle? Or do his shortcomings prevent him from becoming a true superstar? Next week I’ll look at one of the Braves’ less seasoned players.