Dan Uggla: How May Will Get the Atlanta Braves Second Baseman on Track

Will BrownContributor IMay 5, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 01:  Dan Uggla #26 of the Atlanta Braves points to Alex Gonzalez #2 after Uggla scored off Gonzalez's base hit in the seventh against the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on May 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Almost every blog I read in April had comments from Braves' fans on how trading Omar Infante and Michael Dunn for Dan Uggla was already a no-doubt bad deal.

This is despite the fact that Uggla is currently hitting just 15 points lower than Infante (.233 to .218) and that Uggla hit five homers in the season's opening month.

Most fans decided not to look at some of the hits that Uggla had taken away from him due to some bad luck. I can recall roughly a dozen times where Uggla would smoke a line drive and it would land right in the third baseman's glove.

You can also look at his career BABIP (batting average on balls in play), which is .299, and his 2011 BABIP of .232 to tell you that he is having a bit of bad luck.

It's not that Uggla is continuing to improve as a hitter, as he is currently on pace to post his first ever strikeout percentage under 20 (currently 19.4, his career is 25.7).

Uggla is right on pace to match his homer total from 2010, which would still give the Braves a 30-homer season from a guy they got for his power. Not to mention, while his UZR is still not good, I would say that Uggla has been solid defensively and certainly hasn't made any plays that have hurt the team to a great extent.

Now, his April average was .202 with an OPS of .653. That is terrible, I understand that.

Now let's take a look at his last seven days: 9-for-24 (.375) and a .944 OPS. He is also hitting .375 (6-for-16) with a .944 OPS in May.

How does that look for Braves fans?

Uggla has gotten the short end of the stick for fans that only look at the basic stats and don't pay that much attention to what actually goes on. Yes, Uggla does have his fair share of pop-ups and lazy fly balls, but he has had a great deal of bad luck to this point in the season.

If Uggla gets his BABIP back to his career average, then you will see a very potent Braves lineup. We have already seen how well the team has played with him hitting, as they are 5-2 over their last seven games.

Dan Uggla will end up with a solid average that is likely to end somewhere in the .260-.270 range. And with the power that he brings, I think that most Braves fans can accept that.