Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 2/21/13
There have been more words written about Atlanta's outfield than perhaps any other starting trio in the league. There has been a lot written about Atlanta's third base platoon of Chris Johnson and Juan Francisco, and a lot written about young shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Hell, there's been a lot written about the Braves pitching staff, and the status of catcher Brian McCann. But you know who hasn't had a lot written about him? A player that the Braves traded for two winters ago, and signed to a five year contract extension. My x-factor for the Atlanta Braves in 2013 is Dan Uggla. Uggla's career in Atlanta has to be considered a disappointment thusfar, but an expected disappointment...if that makes any sense. In Uggla's two seasons with the Braves, his age 31 and 32 seasons, he's posted the two worst offensive seasons of his career by wOBA, and two of the worst three by wRC+. His ISO in 2012 was far and away the worst of his career, and just the second time he's ever had an ISO under .200. His 19 homers last season marked the first time in his career that Uggla has hit less than 25 dingers in a season. But yet...Uggla has still been in the top half of the middle tier among all second basemen in baseball. Of all regulars over the last two years, Uggla has ranked 12th in both wOBA and wRC+. His ISO is third, despite the power outage last year. Only Robinson Cano has more homers. His 12% walk rate is second best, behind just Ben Zobrist. And Uggla has done all of that with a .267 BABIP, ahead of just four regulars over the past two seasons.  Yeah, his defense has been awful, but everyone knew that coming in with Uggla. He hasn't been the Dan Uggla that he was with the Marlins in his 20s, a player who put together three four-win seasons in his first five years in the league. But that doesn't mean he's been terrible, especially when compared to the rest of the second basemen across baseball. He'll turn 33 next month, and his career is probably exiting his prime. But if Uggla manages to turn things around and boost his power numbers to where they were in every season of his career aside from 2012, he could be a huge asset to a Braves lineup that has its fair share of excellent hitters. He's currently penciled into the sixth spot into the Braves lineup, and that will take a ton of pressure off of him and give him plenty of chances to hit with runners on base and produce runs for the Atlanta offense. Braves on TOC End of Season Postmortem 2013 Season Preview You May Say I'm a Dreamer 2013 Burning Question This Is My Nightmare X-Factor [follow]
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