Fan’s take: Is Dan Uggla finally ready to earn paycheck?

During the off-season, the Atlanta Braves' acquisition of Dan Uggla from the Florida Marlins seemed like it was going to be a big boost to the team's offense. He had hit at least 27 home runs in each of his five major league seasons and had an average better than .240. His 2010 campaign was the best statistical season of his career, as he hit .287 with 33 home runs and had 105 RBIs.

Coming into his first season a Brave, the slugging second baseman was surely nervous, but with the amount of struggles he suffered through the first half of the year, it was more than nerves. His swing was off and Braves hitting coach Larry Parrish couldn't figure out the problem.

As the weather has gotten warmer, so has Uggla's bat. At the conclusion of play on June 29, Uggla was hitting just .178. As the Braves have gone through their action in July, Uggla has seen his average rise 15 points to .193. He is currently on a 12-game hitting streak, which is his best run of the season. While he is still below the Mendoza line, it is the highest his average has been since May 18.

Not only has he been successful in getting his average up, but his power has shown up. He had just 12 home runs coming into the month and he has already hit five balls over the fence. He has finally become the run producer Braves fans were hoping for when he joined the team. He has 10 RBIs this month, raising his season total to 38. If he can double that total during the final stretch of the season, the Braves offense will be in good shape.

If Uggla can continue his success, along with Jason Heyward(notes), the Braves will have a nice push to the playoffs. Freddie Freeman(notes) has been one of the biggest surprises for the Braves this season. After a sluggish April, he has emerged as a legitimate Rookie of the Year Candidate. If these three men can remain consistent bats with Martin Prado(notes) and Brian McCann(notes), the Braves could come from behind in the National League East race and surprise some people.

More from this contributor:

All-Braves Team

Top Midseason Busts of 2011

Top Five Braves All Star Game Moments

How Feelings Change in Sports so Quickly

Rise and fall of Andruw Jones

Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS.

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Updated Thursday, Jul 21, 2011