Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Braves Extend Dan Uggla

Two days ago, the 4th, the Atlanta Braves signed second baseman Dan Uggla to a 5-year, $62 million contract. Working backwards, the Braves acquired the right handed hitting slugger from the Florida Marlins on November 16 of last year (2010). The Braves gave up the sure handed and great hitter in Omar Infante as well as lefty reliever Michael Dunn.

Uggla, who is in his prime at the age of 30, turned down a four-year, $48 million to sign an extension with the Marlins and thus the Marlins moved him to Atlanta. Uggla had arguably his best season in 2010 as he posted a line of .287/.369/.508 with 33 dingers. His 33 home runs, .287 average, wOBA (.381), and wRC+ (140) were all career highs for him. And with that, he also had his second lowest strike out rate of his career at 25.3% (20.1% is his lowest).

Uggla's plate discipline is outstanding. He saw 4.20 P/PA in 2010 and his O-Swing% is well below average (which is a good thing for this stat) at 22.7% in 2010 and the average being 29.3%. His career O-Swing% is 21.1%. He also has two pitches that he does very well against in the cutter at 8.2 and the fastball at a whopping 20.7. Though he struggles just a little with change-ups and is fairly average at hitting the curve.

Some other stats to keep in mind are his AB/HR which was 17.8 in 2010, the second best of his career. Also, his SECA was .358, which was a little down from his previous years but still good. In 2008, his SECA was .399 and in 2009, it was .381.

In 2006, his rookie year, his batting average was .282, which is similar to last years batting average at .287. But in 2006, his BABIP was .309 and in 2010, it was .330. So perhaps he got just bit lucky this year with his average so do not expect it to stay around the .290 range again. Probably around .270.

Uggla's defense is in question though, as it always has been. His DRS in 2010 was -11 and his rPM was -8. So clearly a step down from Infante's sure hands.

This year, it seems OK to project about 30 homers, a .270 average and an OBP around .350. Uggla is a very consistent player so don't expect anything different out of him for the most part.

(Statistics in courtesy of: fangraphs.com and espn.com)

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