Who is the greatest hitting second baseman of all-time? Could it possibly be the Atlanta Braves second sacker, Dan Uggla? OK, it’s stupid to say that Uggla is the best hitting second baseman ever, I’d give that title to Rogers Hornsby in a landslide, but that doesn’t mean that Uggla isn’t in the conversation for being tabbed the greatest power hitting second baseman ever. Think I’m nuts? Read on.
Dan Uggla hit an anemic .233 in his first year in Atlanta, his worst effort of a less than impressive batting average run in his career (he owns a .258 mark and that mark doesn’t figure to improve much given that he has struck out at least 149 times in each of the past five seasons). However, Uggla hit only .185 in a horrid first half so hitting .233 wasn’t that bad given the context (he batted .296 over his last 69 games). He’s never going to be a big help in the batting average category, it’s just not his game. Uggla also isn’t going to ever steal a bag. That’s not exactly true, he has stolen seven bases the last three years (whoopee), but you get the point. So two of the five fantasy categories Uggla is a zero, but in the other three he is an otherworldly hero.
Uggla hit a career best 36 homers in 2011.
Uggla has hit at least 30 homers each of the past five years.
(A) Only five men at any position have hit 30 homers the last five years.
(B) No other second baseman has ever had more than 2-straight 30-HR seasons. Ever.
(C) In fact, no other second baseman has more than three 30-homer seasons in their career.
Face it, Uggla has had the most dominant 5-year power run in second base history. Add in his 27 homers as a rookie and I can also say, without a single doubt, that he has had the greatest 6-year power run at the position in the history of baseball.
Runs Batted In
Uggla had 82 RBI in 2011, the worst mark of his career. That means he’s posted at least 82 RBI in 6-straight seasons – ever year he has been in the big leagues. Those six seasons of 82 RBI are the 4th most in history for a second baseman (Hornsby 10).
Uggla scored 88 runs in 2011, and that was the sixth time that he has recorded at least 84 runs. That ties him for the 5th longest streak at the history of the position (Hornsby 10).
Add all of that together and Uggla is the only second baseman in baseball history to hit 27 homers with 82 RBI and 84 runs scored in 6-straight seasons. Moreover, that six year run matches the longest streaks of such vaunted players as Joe DiMaggio, Mike Schmidt, Frank Thomas and Todd Helton. Not bad eh?
Uggla has his warts, and they are on full display for everyone to see. At the same time his power bat is simply elite. Uggla is an excellent addition to any fantasy club at second base, just make sure that you craft your roster to give you average and speed from other positions.
By Ray Flowers