For awhile now, Dan Uggla has been a pretty unpopular guy in baseball. His inability to hit for a high batting average, aptitude for the strikeout, and his atrocious 2008 All-Star Game defense has earned him quite a bit of perceived downside.
Many, including me, annually include Dan Uggla on their "Do Not Touch Even if 150% Desperate" list in preparation for their fantasy drafts, however, I have recently come to the conclusion that Uggla really does deserve more love than he gets in fantasy baseball, and I'm going to show you why.
Despite his routine low batting averages, Uggla boasts a considerable amount of power in his bat.
Uggla is a 30 Home-Run talent buried in the second base ratings under guys who are undeniably talented, yet merely good for low-to-mid teens in the Home Run and Steals departments, and he's mostly left untouched because of his ugly batting average. And in Fantasy Baseball, 30 Home Runs is a big thing.
As I already mentioned, Uggla has been a steady 30 Home Run guy for a few years now, but unlike Alex Rodriguez, Justin Morneau, and Chase Utley--who all hit less (or in Utley's case, as many) dingers than Uggla in 2009--Uggla can be had near or after the tenth round of the draft.
These 30 Home Run guys come at a premium in Fantasy leagues, and, not surprisingly, nearly all of the (fittingly) 30 Major Leaguers who hit 30 Home Runs last year were on ESPN's top 100 fantasy rankings. The only two not in the top 100 were Dan Uggla and Russell Branyan, while 18 of the 30-Home Run hitters from 2009 were among ESPN's top 50 fantasy players.
Bottom line: give Uggla a look at second base. His batting average isn't anything to get excited about, but he produces anything near his career averages to this point, it will be more than enough to make you forget about a .250 batting averages.
However, before getting too excited over Uggla, by no means am I saying draft him before Utley, Kinsler, Pedroia, Cano, Roberts, or Phillips, but, if you miss out on the elite guys at second, don't be afraid to take the chance on Uggla.
You'll probably get heckled by your friends at the draft for it, but come baseball season you'll be able to sit back and enjoy the ride while he who banks on Ian Stewart, Placido Polanco, or Scott Sizemore will probably be desperately searching for a replacement.