Well, we can officially say that the 2013 baseball season is long gone, but some things from that season have stuck around to haunt teams. For the Atlanta Braves, the question coming in was “how good will B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla be in 2014?” Funny story: Upton is still just as bad as he was when we last saw him struggle to not hit .200 last season.
Uggla, on the other hand, really seems like a different hitter in 2014. In 23 at bats, Uggla has only struck out five times, putting him well behind the pace that he put up last year. Granted, he is only hitting .217 at this point of the season, yet two of his five hits have been doubles and he holds the early season lead in RBI for the team with three.
The difference in Uggla this year is clear as day to the people who got to see him hit (or strikeout) a lot last season. While he is not getting many hits, he is putting the bat on the ball pretty much four out of five times he goes up to the plate. Even more impressive is the pop that the ball seems to have off the bat this season. He hasn’t hit a home run to this point, but he is really going out and stinging balls left and right. It’s easy to see that he has put a ton of work in and has a chance to make a difference in the lineup this season.
While it has been a struggle for the Braves, if Uggla is good, he could turn into a real key to this lineup if he can hit closer to .240 and put up his usual 25 to 30 home runs. In doing so, he would find himself a little higher in the lineup with more RBI chances and possibly contributing to the team even more than the organization thought he possibly would in 2014.