The Atlanta Braves made a huge splash when they acquired Dan Uggla from the Marlins to serve as the right-handed slugger they had so desperately wanted for years. While Uggla finished the 2011 season with respectable numbers, the aging second baseman had one of the more unconventional seasons in baseball history. After posting of OPS of right around .600 for the first three months of the season, Uggla caught fire in July and finished the second half with an OPS upwards of .900.
What should Braves fans expect from Uggla in 2012? We take a look at that, a few projections and more after the page jump...
Bill James: .251/.337/.473, .349 wOBA, 33 HR, 92 RBI
ZiPS: .248/.330/.451, .338 wOBA, 29 HR, 82 RBI
Uggla will be 32 years old once Opening Day rolls around, although he keeps himself in tremendous shape throughout the year. Offensively, the Brave watched Uggla record the worst offensive season of his career in 2011 and a lot of that can be attributed to an unlucky BABIP of .253. Once that number bounces back to right around his career average of .294, his batting average and on-base percentage should at least go up a considerable amount. There is little doubt he will continue to hit homers and drive in runs at a solid rate.
Defensively, Uggla will continue to be awful and we can only hope he is somewhat respectable in the field in 2012. He posted a UZR of -12.2 and DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) of -9, both of which ranked horribly among qualified infielders.
This upcoming season will be about staying consistent for Uggla. He admittedly put extra pressure on himself to begin last season after receiving a five-year contract extension and never truly got his timing down at the plate. Assuming he can avoid yet another first half slump in Atlanta, the Braves should expect big numbers out of their second baseman once again. Let's just hope the opposition doesn't hit many ground balls his way.