After being one of the most successful Rule 5 Draft Picks, Dan Uggla’s career has been an interesting one to say the least. Next to Chase Utley he is right there as far as power at 2B, but the average is a question mark and his strikeout rate is reaching alarming levels. Let’s take a look at last season’s numbers before diving into my thoughts:
531 At Bats
.260 Batting Average (138 Hits)
32 Home Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.360 On Base Percentage
.514 Slugging Percentage
.323 Batting Average on Balls in Play
The biggest problem, as I’ve mentioned, is the amount of times he strikes out. It wasn’t too bad in his rookie season, but over the last two seasons it has gotten out of control, topping out at 171 strikeouts last season, giving him a K/9 of 32.2%. That number placed him at fifth worst in the league, behind the usual suspects like Jack Cust (41.0%), Carlos Pena (33.9%) and Ryan Howard (32.6%).
Now, the question is which player do we figure him to be? In 2006 he hit 27 HR with a K/9 of 20.1%. In 2007 he hit 31 HR with a K/9 of 26.4%. Then we had last season. Could he be swinging for the fences a bit more? That’s one possibility, as his FB rate was just 42.2% in ’06 before going up to 50.5% in ’07 and 48.1% last season. Last season he was sixth in the league, in 2007 he was fourth. If he’s going to continue to swing for the fences like this, and there’s no sign of him showing that he won’t, the risk is going to be there for him to strikeout a ton (probably closer to the ’07 levels), leading to a lower average, but the power is going to be there.
Is he going to hit 30+ HR once again, giving him the hat trick? It’s tough to predict, as his HR/FB rate jumped last season from 13.1% and 13.0% over his first two seasons to 18.4%. I’d have to expect a regression there, at least a little bit, meaning the HR are more likely to come in at 26ish, as opposed to over 30.
It’s funny, as the strikeouts have gone up, so have the walks. He’s gone from a BB/% of 7.3% to 9.7% to 12.7%. That’s a good sign, but not one that is going to make me think much higher on him, except that he is likely to be able to score a few more runs. That thought is wiped away by the fact that he’s likely to hit fifth in the line-up, not a spot very conducive for it.
I’d say it was a good RBI spot, but the Marlins line-up does not look overly impressive for this season. He’ll have Hanley Ramirez hitting in front of him, but also someone like Jorge Cantu, and who knows exactly what he’s going to give you.
So, let’s total all this up and take a look at what I’d expect to see from him this season:
.254 (150-590), 27 HR, 93 RBI, 86 R, 4 SB, .302 BABIP, .333 OBP, .464 SLG
For the record, I have him with a K% at 26.44% (156 K’s) and a BB% of 10.06% (66 BB’s). Those are obviously usable numbers and ones that give you a power advantage against many of the other players available, but it does not put him among the elite. The average is going to be a problem and he hasn’t shown any signs of doing anything to correct that, especially if it could come at the expense of his power. It’s more likely the he comes in under the average I projected then over it, making him a player I’d rather not draft.
How does everyone else view Uggla? Is he a 2B option you target or more of a fallback option on draft day?
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