Outside of one 33 game stretch during the summer of 2011, Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla has not really lived up to what most Braves fans expected after signing a five-year $62 million contract. All of those lost in a world encompassed by hate of the all-star second baseman need to just realize that the contract is spilled milk at this point.
The frustrations experienced every time his patented helicopter swing whiffs at strike three are not yours alone. Everyone in Braves Country has been pushed to wits end by a Dan Uggla shortcoming at some point over the last two and a half years, but it is high time that the complaining stop and the positives gain an audience.
First off, do not get hung up on the fact that he is currently batting just .200 for the season (.221 career as a Brave). Uggla hardly shows the form of former light-hitting infielder Mario Mendoza. Batting average has become a statistic of inflated importance but that is a debate for a different day.
Surprising to many is the fact that Uggla leads the Braves in home runs right now with 18. In fact, that number leads all NL second sackers. He also holds the third highest total of RBI in the National League at his position, trailing only all-stars Brandon Phillips and Matt Carpenter.
A reason for the second half power outage Uggla endured last season is difficult to understand. His mere seven long balls after the break brought his total to a disappointing career low of 19. 2012 marked the first time in six years that he failed to hit over 30 homers in a single season.
Even with these struggles, Uggla managed to find a way to bring production to the team. He posted a solid .348 OBP, while finishing in a tie atop the entire NL with 94 walks and his 86 runs were good for fourth on the roster.
As stated before, 2011 saw him put together an Atlanta Braves record 33 game hitting streak and a team leading 36 HR. Nobody was talking trade or bench at that point.
The defense, well that area is pretty much indefensible. Uggla is consistently among the bottom of the league when it comes to fielding his position.
When the offensive struggles are present, it is easy to understand the overall aggravation with one of the highest paid players on the team. However, the incessant clamor of ridicule is hardly warranted, when you consider that he has led the Braves in homers and runs scored since being acquired from the Marlins. He also trails only Freddie Freeman in runs driven home over that span.
Getting behind the 33-year old slugger and understanding the value he brings will only make things easier on you as a fan. Hey, we all know watching him is not pretty most of the time. Let’s just call it “Beautifully Uggla”.