Dan Uggla played for the Florida Marlins from 2006 through 2010, and ranks second on their all-time list with 154 home runs.
Dan Uggla was a five-foot-11, 210 lb. right-handed second baseman from Louisville, KY. Born 40 years ago today, he played his college ball with the University of Memphis. In 2001, he slashed .379/.498/.790 in 58 games, with 18 home runs and 67 RBI. He was then drafted in the 11th round of the 2001 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Following the 2005 campaign, the Diamondbacks left Uggla unprotected, and the Florida Marlins chose him in the annual rule 5 draft. For those who don’t keep up on it, when a player gets acquired through rule 5, the gaining club must keep them on the active major league roster for the entirety of that season or risk losing them back to the original club.
But the Florida Marlins shouldn’t have been too worried in hindsight. Uggla appeared in 154 games in 2006 for them. He led the team with 27 home runs and was named to the National League All Star team, and later finished third in the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award voting. He hit .282/.339/.480. Of the eight “qualified” Marlins, five of them had an OPS+ over the league average of 100. Uggla was fourth on the team at 112. Despite that, the Marlins finished six games short of .500, at 78-84.
In a team-leading 159 games in 2007, Uggla hit .245/.326/.479 with a club-second 31 homers and 88 RBI. He also drew a team-second 68 walks, and led the team with a franchise all-time second-best 49 doubles. The Marlins regressed further, finishing the year with a 71-91 campaign.
The WAR metric pegs 2008 as Uggla’s best major league season, with a mark of 4.4. He hit .260/.360/.514 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI. That season the team went 84-77, largely on the back of an all-power infield. Along with Uggla’s 32, Hanley Ramirez hit 33 at shortstop, Mike Jacobs smacked 32 at first, and Jorge Cantu fell juuuuuuust short of 30, knocking in 29 from third base. Offsetting Uggla’s team-worst 171 strikeouts, he also drew 77 walks for a BB percent of 12.4. He made his second All Star team for his play that year.
In 2009, the Marlins posted their last winning record to date, going 87-75. That’s their best non-World Series-winning team winning percentage. Uggla led the club with both 92 walks and with 150 strikeouts, along with 31 home runs. Considering he also led the team with 668 plate appearances, that’s a 41 percent “true result” player. Uggla slashed .243/.354/.459 in a team-high 158 games.
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In 2010, Uggla did what Uggla does — hit home runs. He led the team with 33 homers and with 105 RBI in 159 games, and slashed a career-best line of .287/.369/.508 to help the Florida Marlins to an 80-82 record. After the season ended, the Marlins traded Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for Mike Dunn and Omar Infante.
In five seasons for the Florida Marlins, Uggla never posted a single-season OPS+ below 108, which he achieved in 2007. After leaving the Marlins he never posted a mark above 107. He well and truly gave the best he had for the Marlins. Uggla hit .263/.349/.488 in 776 games for the good guys, with 154 homers and 465 RBI. Going by WAR, Uggla’s 15.7 marks him as the ninth-best player in Marlins history.
After joining the Atlanta Braves, Uggla hit a career-high 36 homers in 2011 and led the NL in 2012 with 94 walks to make his third All Star appearance. In 449 games over four seasons, he hit just .209/.317/.391 with 79 round-trippers and 225 RBI. He went 0-for-11 in four games for the San Francisco Giants to close out 2014, and played his final season with the Washington Nationals in 2015, where he hit .183/.298/.300 in 67 games.