Though a 33.6% strikeout rate and a .191 batting average do not often draw praise, Atlanta Braves 2B Dan Uggla has had more value than those numbers would indicate. Many respect his power, but few realize how much more offensive value he is truly adding.
Uggla ranks second among all qualified batters with a 15.2% walk rate. Only Joey Votto (16.8%) and Uggla are above 15%. While his .412 slugging percentage is slightly lower than one would want, Uggla’s .320 OBP is actually quite acceptable at the generally abysmal second base. Though Uggla does not have the same speed he did earlier in his career, his BABIP must inevitably rise from its current .236 towards his career mark of .290.
If Uggla got his batting average up to last year’s .220 – not even his career .250 – he would logically increase his slugging percentage as well. With 13 homeruns already, Uggla could easily hit more than 15 in the remaining 100 games. Assuming natural regression and no significant injuries, Uggla will easily finish this season with 25-30 homeruns and an OBP between .325-.335.
A quick ranking of second basemen in baseball reveals the lack of depth or talent at the position. With few elite options, almost all of whom are in the American League, Uggla ranks surprisingly high among major league second basemen.
With the Washington Nationals struggling offensively, it is hard to imagine how the Atlanta Braves do not maintain their lead in the National League East. With six strong starters and few offensive weaknesses, they are a truly elite team. As Uggla heats up into the summer months, he will represent yet another feared bat in this deep lineup.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.