With the acquisitions of Justin Upton and B.J. Upton, the Atlanta Braves have one of the best lineups that the National League has to offer. But with as stacked as a lineup the Braves have, the question of where to put Dan Uggla is still a question to be answered.
Many Braves fans sat through the first two years of Uggla’s time as a Brave and wondered when they were going to see the monstrous batting averages he produced while being a member of the Miami Marlins .
Uggla is coming off the worst year of his career in terms of batting average (.220), home runs (19), RBIs (78) and slugging percentage (.384). However, Uggla is coming off his career-best season in walks (94).
So with these new, young studs the Braves have in their lineup like Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward and the ones they have just acquired in the Upton brothers and Chris Johnson, where would the team put someone like Uggla, who goes through long dry spells at the plate?
A simple answer to this would be the seventh or eighth spot in the lineup.
To me, these two spots would be the prime positions for Uggla to bat. In the seventh spot, the pitcher is likely not wanting to walk you given the fact that a much weaker hitter is sitting right behind you in the eighth spot. If you were batting Uggla in the seventh spot, the pitcher would most likely have to keep it closer to the strike zone, allowing the power-hitting Uggla to swing away till his heart is content. There is not as much pressure in the seventh spot compared to where he was batting in the previous years.
So if you’re not a fan of moving Uggla to the seventh spot, what about the eighth spot? This spot is usually reserved for catchers, but the Braves have a unique catcher in Brian McCann who brings sky scraping power to the box. The eighth spot might actually be the prime position compared to seventh spot for Uggla because the pitcher is right behind him. Players who bat eighth are more likely to get fastballs, something Uggla handles, and are even more likely to get pitches in and around the plate even more often compared to the seventh spot.
No matter where Uggla lands in the starting lineup, Braves fans and I’m sure Uggla himself are looking forward to a better, more productive year from him in the 2013 season.
You can follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1