June 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
The title of this article may sound pretty silly. You’re probably thinking, “wait, so you are trying to tell me that the guy with an OPS+ under 50 needs to strikeout more? That’s one of your solutions to making him more productive? What are you, some kind of idiot?”
I might be, but there is certainly something wrong with Dan Uggla and the most notable change is his approach. I wrote an article a few weeks ago about the offense in general having increased outside swing percentages, and Uggla was one of the main culprits. His O-Swing% is currently 26.7 and his career average is 21.4. His O-Swing% has never been higher than 22.7.
With that said, his contact rate of 76.2% is also the highest of his career. His O-Contact% is 54.9, which is again the highest of his career. He is swinging at more pitches outside of the zone than he ever has and he is making more contact than he ever has. This is an absolutely terrible combination.
He needs to be striking out more.
Of course that is not quite the entire solution to the problem. He needs to be more selective, that is what I am really trying to say. He needs to take more pitches and be willing to take a tough strike every so often. He will not be able to swing his way out of this. Working walks and waiting for a pitch he can drive will lead to more balls being squared up.
Power hitters making too much contact is not a good thing. Look at Mark Reynolds. Here is a guy who hits 30 home runs a year annually but when his strikeout rate drops almost 10% he starts making weak contact and his power begins to deteriorate.
There is a very real correlation for power hitters making more contact and hitting for less power. This may not be the only solution to improve Uggla’s offensive woes, but making too much contact has certainly been a big problem thus far. Fixing that may lead to straightening him out, and hopefully the Braves’ coaches, upper management, and Uggla himself are able to realize this.