It was about this time a year ago that fantasy owners were ready to completely write off Dan Uggla. He posted a pathetic first half, hitting .185 with 15 HR. Of course, we all know he got scorching hot in the second half, quickly making fantasy owners forget. A .296 average with 21 HR has a habit of doing that.
I don’t think anyone expected us to be in a similar situation in 2012, but almost unbelievably we are. Through July 25 Uggla finds himself hitting .213 with 12 HR. So, while fantasy owners get ready to kick him to the curb, we have to take a moment to stop and ask ourselves if a similar surge is possible.
There really is no easy answer to that question. In some regards the underlying metrics give us a sense of hope, but they unfortunately are not unanimous.
On the positive side, Uggla is actually posting a career best line drive rate of 19.3%. While his .282 BABIP is not an unrealistic mark, there is room for improvement.
You also have a career worst 11.9% HR/FB (in fact, he hasn’t been below 16.0% since 2007). Again, while it is far from a guarantee, the number on its own gives us reason to believe.
It is a little bit more bizarre when you realize that his mark at home is at 8.2%. Atlanta is certainly not a poor power hitter’s park. Plus, in 2011 he hit 18 HR at home courtesy of a 17.6% HR/FB. It all adds up to a perceived improvement moving forward.
However, the one true albatross is his strikeout rate, currently sitting at 28.2%. The number has been even worse over the past two months, at 32.7% and 30.3%. It’s possible he is pressing, trying to break out, but you need to make contact in order to do so. Last season he didn’t post a single month with a strikeout rate above 26.5%. This season he already has three.
That is a major difference and puts a huge black could over the hopeful rebound. That’s not to say it is impossible, but I would feel a lot better in recommending him if he was making contact.
If I could get him for pennies on the dollar I still would, but until he starts making consistent contact I wouldn’t be hopeful for a rebound similar to 2011. Keep a close eye and, of the strikeouts start to decline, then I would quickly pounce.
What are your thoughts of Uggla? Do you think he is worth acquiring? Why or why not?