After years of having Dan Uggla hit home runs against its pitching staff, the Atlanta Braves decided to add the muscle-bound second baseman to their roster. In exchange for Uggla, the Braves sent utility infielder Omar Infante and relief pitcher Mike Dunn to the Marlins.
Although the Braves will miss Infante’s high batting average and flexibility as an infielder, the team added a much-needed right handed power hitter in Uggla, who is the only second baseman in major league history to hit 30 home runs in four different seasons.
Uggla has been a fantasy mainstay for years, typically ranking in the top five for second basemen due to his high power numbers from an otherwise weak position. In his five-year career, he has driven in at least 88 RBIs and scored an average of 104 runs for a young Marlins team.
The two big knocks against Uggla have been his .263 career batting average and his penchant to strike out, fanning an average of 159 times per season. With that said, Uggla did post a career best .287 average in 2010 and struck out 149 times, which is the second fewest in his career.
The addition of Uggla to an already strong Atlanta batting order should prove beneficial for fantasy owners. It is not clear where the Gonzalez will hit Uggla in the lineup, however we anticipate that he will likely hit second with McCann and Jason Heyward hitting behind him. This scenario would give Uggla a great chance to set a new career high in runs scored, but would limit his RBI potential. Conversely, should the new manger hit him fifth in the lineup, Uggla would be primed to have a nice year of RBI production.
From a fantasy perspective, the trade to Atlanta improves Uggla’s value as he will be surrounded by a better supporting cast of players. He should be drafted in the middle rounds, behind fellow second basemen Chase Utley and Robinson Cano.
In leagues that penalize for strikeouts, he should be dropped down a few notches because of his high K average. However, if he can continue to improve his batting average while maintaining his power numbers, he could produce first or second round numbers from a middle round pick.
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