Atlanta Braves: Was Dan Uggla's Hot Second Half the Exception or the Rule?

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIApril 18, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 17:  Dan Uggla #26 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after scoring against Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets in the second inning at Turner Field on April 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

To say Dan Uggla had a horrible first half to the 2011 season would be an understatement. To say he was hot in the second half would be another understatement, too.

So, the question is, was the second half of last season the exception or the rule for Uggla as a Brave?

Before joining Atlanta, Uggla had a .263 career batting average with 154 home runs and 465 RBI.

In his first season in Georgia, the second baseman hit .233 with 36 home runs and 82 RBI, which was a career high in home runs, and career lows in batting average and RBI.

During the first half of the year, Uggla was batting .185 with 15 home runs and 34 RBI, while in the second half, he batted .296 with 21 home runs and 48 RBI.

The second baseman has a history of struggling at the beginning of the season, which was why the Braves didn't panic early last year.

Now, Uggla is again struggling at the beginning of the season, batting .195 with four RBI and Braves fans are now panicking.

So, is it the exception or the rule? Did the Braves make a mistake by trading for and signing Uggla?

In my opinion, no.

While Uggla's weaknesses at the plate can be overblown, you don't hear the same being said about the Orioles' Mark Reynolds.

Known as a guy who either strikes out or hits the ball far, Reynolds is a true power hitter. Uggla falls into that same category (sort of) as the numbers look the same.

However, Uggla isn't striking out near as much. Hovering around 150 strikeouts per year, Uggla is making contact in the early going, it's just going to a fielder.

So, was Uggla's second half the exception or the rule?

It was both.

It's the exception when it comes to the first half of the season, while it's the rule when it comes to the second half.

Uggla will continue to struggle in the first half, but succeed in the second half as his history suggets.

And, for a team that had a major collapse last year in the playoff run, it will need one of its best players hitting late in the season.

Remember, the Braves essentially traded Omar Infante for Uggla, giving the team more right-handed power in a left-handed heavy lineup.

And, I ask you this, would you trade Uggla's power for the average of Infante?

So, does it really matter if last year's second half was the exception or the rule?

As long as Uggla hits 35 or more home runs, then I'm happy.


Chris Stephens is a Featured Columnist for the Atlanta Braves on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @chris_stephens6.