Posted: 7:21 pm Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Braves’ poll: Can Uggla, Upton rebound? 

By Jeff Schultz

Dan Uggla is confident he'll have a good season. Are you? Vote in poll.

Dan Uggla is confident he’ll have a good season. Are you? Vote in poll.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — I had a lengthy and revealing conversation today with Dan Uggla, the Braves’ often-maligned second baseman. I hope you get a chance to read it online at MyAJC.com or in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the thing made of paper).

A link to the full column can be found here on MyAJC (subscription).

I’m obviously not going to copy and paste all of Uggla’s comments but he was extremely open about his struggles and the accompanying criticism. A couple of excerpts:

– On the 2013 season, when he hit a career low .179: “I was in a bad place last year. A real bad place. Somehow I hit 22 homers. Don’t ask me how.”

– His ability to stay positive amid the criticism and getting left off the playoff roster: “The last thing anybody wants to do is hear you whine, ‘Oh, I’m getting screwed.’ There’s really nothing to say. Look at yourself in the mirror. I knew what my numbers were last year.”

Gotta say, I’ve been as impressed by how Uggla has handled all of this as much as any high-profile struggling athlete I’ve ever come across. Is that any guarantee he’ll bounce back this season? No. But he certainly hasn’t given up hope, even if it’s clear many fans have.

Which leads to the poll. One question, four answers. Who has a better chance to have a bounce back season: 1) Dan Uggla; 2) B.J. Upton; 3) Both; 4) Neither.

You can vote in the poll and comment below.

Some recent ramblings …
– MyAJC: Dan Uggla: ‘I was a mess’ last season
– MyAJC: Braves about to find out if no move was right move
– Blog: Braves’ signing of Teheran another risk worth taking
– Blog: The Braves, spring training and travel issues…
– MyAJC: Dimitroff says he’ll judge Michael Sam on talent, not sexual preference
– Blog: Missouri’s Sam says he’s gay; how will NFL react?
– MyAJC: How They Really Stand: Annual rankings of Atlanta sports teams
– MyAJC: Paul Johnson: Perception of Tech not reality
– Blog: Tech’s talent level (just the facts, no spin)
– Blog: Signing Day advice: Proceed with caution
– MyAJC: Manning can’t even outscore Seattle’s defense
– Blog: Super Bowl Short Takes on Seattle’s rout of Denver
– MyAJC: Elway sent message when nobody on Falcons did
22 comments
tarly
tarly

It looks like people are not very optimistic, based on the poll results, so far.  We hope for the best.  (We hope they won't do worse.)  At this point, wouldn't anything be an improvement for either one of them?!

DrPhill
DrPhill

If either of these players are going to produce, it should be apparent by April 1st.  Unless they come to life in Florida, it would be criminal to play either of them once the season begins.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Doubt it, but if they could they'd be playing basketball! Lol

reckingball
reckingball

If those two can just gets some hits or sacrifices, with runners at 2nd and/or 3rd, that would be wonderful.

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

.232 to .220 to .179

I've seen enough of Dan Uggla. Give Pena or Pastornicky a chance  @ 2B.

B.J. should have never been signed to begin with. Frank Wren has saddled the Braves with yet

another big contract. Lowe. Kawakami. McLouth. Uggla. B.J. Somebody has to be accountable

for the non-productivity from these well-compensated players.

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

No need to talk about the subject any longer. If these guys perform, the Braves have a parade next October. If not, they don't. No pressure.

One thing is for sure, if six weeks in to the season it is evident that nothing has changed, their at-bats need to go to Shafer and Pena, and don't look back.

Borodave
Borodave

Sorry, should read:


"Jeff, I totally agree that Uggs handled it very well last season; and..."

Borodave
Borodave

eff, I totally agree that Uggs handled it very well last; and continues to seemingly have a positive attitude.  Agreed also that if both just hit 220; and Upton steals bases and Uggs hits some homers...that would be considered bounce-back seasons for both. 

Dawggie
Dawggie

Amazing that the Braves won 96 games with those two holes in the lineup.  If they each had batted .220, the Bravos probably would have another (real) Pennant hanging.

Wish them both big turnarounds, and no arm troubles for our young pitchers, and hope springs eternal and all that . . .

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

20 homers, 40 Doubles and 60 walks Danny boy.

20 homers, 20 steals and 60 RBI Bossman jr.

They do those things, I really don't care what their avg is

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Uggla and BJ: 


This is your chance to prove everyone wrong, to prove that 2013 was a fluke, a bad coincidence that in the big picture, the two highest payed players contributed zilch to the effort. You can turn it around this year. How? The following applies to one or both of you in greater or lesser degrees, but you know who you are.


1) Go up to the plate with purpose and determination - ready to hit the ball now - ready to hit the first pitch. All National pitchers knew that a big fat one right down the middle was a great way to put you both behind with their first pitch. How many of those big fat pitches did you look at? Countless. And how many times were you both behind in the count? Uggla was the best a picking up walks while behind, but are either of you going up to the plate to get a walk? Honestly, more times than you would like to mention, you were, and getting the walk was a relief. Getting walks is not what you are being paid to do. 


2) Stand still. Stand ready and focused. Stop moving your arms around and stop doing the left foot samba before, during, and after the pitch that you miss. 


3) For inexplicable reasons, stop swinging at balls above the letters and in the dirt when you get behind in the count. You are major league players. You are paid to be pros, to be disciplined. There must be some way to stop you both (Uggla especially) from swinging at balls in the clouds and in the dirt when behind in the count - almost always after being 0 -- 1 after watching a big fat one down the pike sail by on the first pitch. 


4) When you are dreadfully behind (0-2, 1-2- and in both your cases, 2-2, please, please get ready for a good pitch if the pitcher decides not to waste his next pitch in the clouds or in the dirt. It is possible, not likely, that you will get a good pitch. 


5) And you need to be ready for the crappy pitches when way behind in the count because the pitchers know you so well and that they can get you to swing at anything when  you have two strikes, and you both proved it over and over again. 


6) Please, please, when the count is 2-2 and 3-2, please stop watching big fat ones sail by your for the third strike. BJ especially. Don't spend your at bat swinging and missing and fouling off crap, and then watching big fat ones go by on 3-2 and 2-2. 


You have trained the National pitchers to pitch to you in a certain way, a way in which you strike out a lot or foul out or hit a pop up or a ground out.  You have to develop the mental discipline to make them pay if they do that again this year. 

Remarkable3
Remarkable3

Braves Poll: Can Uggla and Upton rebound? That seems like a rather foolish question.  Can they?  What would be the answer, "NO. They Can't?"

Of course they can.  The question should be, "Will Uggla and Upton rebound?" 

My answer is I hope so.  But I must admit, I've lost confidence in Uggla and I'm rapidly loosing it in Upton too.

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

No way the Barves realy blu it when they sighed Struggla. Of coarse it not all his falt U have to balme the loosing managar as well. WHy they hire him is B yond me. 

NajehDavenpoop
NajehDavenpoop

Maybe if the Braves brought back the hitting coach that had them near the top of the league in OBP in 2010, they would have better luck offensively. What was his name? Is he still around?

redleg24
redleg24

If they hit over 200, it will be a bounce back year.  Anything over 250 a good year and anything over 270 a fantastic year.  When you have been so bad, it doesn't take much for an improvement..

Jim70
Jim70

Uggla never was a great average hitter, so he should bounce back.  good year next year.  and I believe bj will do well, high salary and new environment last year.


Go braves, and no, don't take the falcons with you 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

If BJ returns to normal, it will be great, but based on career records, he is about half the offensive player Uggla would be, if he were to return to normal.  I think they will both be better, not much room to get worse. I don't think either will return to their career average numbers.  I agree with Max, BJ looked much more lost at the plate, weak swings on the third strike.  Uggla seemed more confident, although he didn't make contact, he didn't try to feel for the ball like BJ. 

MaxSizemore
MaxSizemore

Uggla has a chance to come back, but B.J. is done.  I saw a lot of his games with the Rays and he's been on a steady downhill path.  He's an emotional wreck.

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

Are you a baseball coach? If so - seems like your time would be better spent going out and coaching instead of this - that nobody in the organization is going to ever read. If not - same thing.