Dan Uggla is a player who often gets little respect despite showing to be a tremendous source of power out of the middle infield year after year.

Unfortunately, he draws some criticism for the other aspects of his game, hurting his perceived value.

Obviously, we will have to reassess things once 2010 has come to a close, but thus far it appears that things are heading in a positive direction when it comes to his numbers:

451 At-Bats
.288 Batting Average (130 Hits)
28 Home Runs
79 RBI
83 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.375 On-Base Percentage
.519 Slugging Percentage
.326 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The metrics behind the numbers are all reasonable, too, though that’s not to say that there aren’t concerns. His fly-ball rate has actually been trending down the past four seasons:

  • 2007: 50.5 percent
  • 2008: 48.1 percent
  • 2009: 46.4 percent
  • 2010: 43.4 percent

His HR/FB rate has been consistent the past three seasons, at 18.4 percent, 16.0 percent, and 18.9 percent. That’s good to see, but you would feel better about his fly-ball trend if the balls were becoming more line drives. Instead, it’s his ground balls that are up this season, going from 36.6 percent in 2009 to 41.6 percent this year.

The average itself is buoyed by some improved luck this season, though he has traded off good and bad years over his five career seasons. In the odd years he has hit  sub-.280 (.279, .274) and in the even years he’s been .309 or better (.309, .320, .326).

With that type of on and off, it’s impossible to get a good read on his ability with the bat and draw a conclusion on what to expect.

What you do like to see is the downward trend of his strikeouts over the past three seasons:

  • 2008: 32.2 percent
  • 2009: 26.6 percent
  • 2010: 25.3 percent

The less he strikes out, the better average he is likely to have and the more productive he can be. You can drive in runs by simply putting the ball in play. When you swing and miss, it’s a complete waste.

With a few more weeks in the season, it’s impossible to get an accurate read on Uggla. If he goes on a strikeout binge, the numbers are going to be skewed significantly.

As of now, there’s a lot to like moving forward with Uggla, like the facts that his strikeouts have come down, and that he has shown the ability to maintain a fairly lofty HR/FB rate. However, there are serious concerns about his declining fly-ball rate and his ability to maintain the BABIP he has shown this season.

The bottom line? He’s proven to be among the better second basemen in the game, but he could easily regress back to a home run or bust type player. Enjoy the rest of 2010 and hope he can maintain what he’s shown, but we will have to reevaluate him in the offseason when we have a full slate of data and get a better read on what to expect in 2011.

What are your thoughts on Uggla? Has he turned the corner, or do you expect a regression?

Make sure to check out our extremely early 2011 rankings:


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