Dan Uggla: Taking a Closer Look at His 2011 Season

I own Braves second baseman Dan Uggla in two keeper leagues. In one of the leagues, the NL-only UBA league, I own him at $24 S1, and have announced that I will listen to offers for him. The reason is I have room to keep him, but if I keep him, I will arrive at the 2012 auction draft in NYC with about $30 left to spend on 10-11 guys. Not what I want to do, but I may do so if I cannot deal him.

I have received a few offers, but nothing that really interests me at this point, so I have to ask myself: am I over-valuing Uggla? 

Did you know his middle name is Cooley? That's a first for me. I have never heard someone with a name/middle name of Cooley.

Anyway, to answer my question, I decided to take a closer look at his 2011 season and compare it to his career averages. I think many make the mistake that if a hitter has a bad year, or good year, that the hitter will do the same in the next year. Owners forget that hitters can have bad years. And sometimes, the hitter just had a flukey bad year. 

I think Dan Cooley Uggla had a flukey bad year in 2011, even though he went yard 36 times. More on Uggla after the jump:

Uggla had a terrible first half where he homered 15 times and drove in 34 runs. His monthly triple slash splits (BA/OBP/SLG) were as follows:

April- .194-.250-.380

May- .160-.241-.260

June- .179-.250-.379

July- .293-.369-.586

August- .340-.405-.670

Sept.- .238-.347-.455

Now let's take a look at his career BA/OBP/SLG lines:

April- .238-.311-.440

May- .273-.359-.525

 June- .247-.327-.491

July- .261-.343-.484

August- .283-.371-.504

Sept.- .246-.340-.446

Keep in mind his career triple slash lines above include his 2011 monthly slash lines. Uggla hit just .185-.257-.365 with 15 HRs and 34 RBIs in the first half of 2011, while his career first half line is .255-.336-.478 with 100 of his 190 career home runs. Granted, he is not known for having a high BA, but these comparisons confirm, for me, that his 2011 first half was a fluke. 

Looking closer at his 2011 season, Uggla's K rate increased a bit from 22.1% to 23.2%, and his walk rate dropped from 11.6% to 9.2%. His BABIP has fluctuated over his 6 year career as follows: .309-.279-.320-.274-.330-.253. One year over .300, the next year under .300. Will it be over .300 in 2012? I think his BABIP will be much closer to .300 than it was in 2011. In addition, his ISO has remained fairly consistent, sitting in the .216 to .221 range over the past 3 seasons.

One other thing I noticed was that he swung at just over 27% of pitches outside the zone this year, by far the highest rate of his career. Part of that is due to the fact that he is not a very good hitter, but another possible reason could be that his horrible start caused him to press and expand the strike zone in an attempt to get a hit, start a hitting streak. It happens all the time, but for Uggla, it lasted much longer than most.

When analyzing hitters for 2012 fantasy drafts, fantasy owners need to look at how a hitter will perform next year rather than how he performed this year. They need to look at why the hitter had a down year, and whether the hitter can bounce back or will continue to underperform going forward.

What can you expect from Uggla in 2012? I see another 30 HR, 90 RBI season with a BA around .255-.265, maybe a tad higher. His RBI total could be higher depending on bounce back seasons from guys like Martin Prado and Jason Heyward in the Braves lineup. I see a bounce back year from Uggla in 2012. He hit a career high 36 HRs in 2011 while hitting just .233. He can approach the same power numbers with a higher BA in 2012.

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