The Next Dan Uggla? Another Look At Cody Cipriano

All season Rays minor leaguer Cody Cipriano has caught my attention. Our own FreeZorilla did a wonderful job of introducing Cipriano to us yesterday in his minor league profile of him. At age 24, Cipriano is having a really nice season for Class A+ Port Charlotte. As FreeZorilla mentioned, Cipriano has played most of his games at second base. When I think of Cody, I immediately think of Dan Uggla. They share similar body types (~6'0 200 lbs) as well as a similar skill set. Uggla plays second base for the Marlins, but is a butcher defensively. Cipriano,a righty like Uggla, rated as average defensively in 2008, but would probably best be served as a first basemen. Uggla would probably fare better as a first basemen, but the Marlins have Jorge Cantu there, and he might be even worst than Uggla defensively.

With the comparison in mind, I decided to take a look at Cipriano and Uggla. Luckily, like Cipriano, Uggla, at age 24, spent the first part of his season also playing for his organization's advanced A club.  

Here is the comparison:

Player

Age

Level

PA

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

HR

2B

Uggla

24

A+

140

0.336

0.422

0.600

1.022

6

13

Cipriano

24

A+

169

0.320

0.392

0.515

0.907

5

14

Uggla has the OPS advantage as he put up very similar power numbers in 30 less plate apperances. Surprisingly, while Uggla is a free swinger now (25.6 K% career), he showed very good plate discipline in the minors, something Cipriano is struggling with.

Here are the plate discipline numbers:

Player

Age

Level

BB

K

BB%

K%

BB/K

Uggla

24

A+

17

21

12.1

15

0.81

Cipriano

24

A+

19

48

10.1

28.4

0.40

While the walks are similar, remember Cipriano has more PAs. He has more than twice as many strikeouts and his BB/K rate is less than half of Uggla's. Like Cipriano, Uggla was never thought of as a prospect and the Arizona Diamondbacks left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Two years later, at age 26, Uggla hit .282/.339/.480 with 27 home runs and 26 doubles as a member of the Florida Marlins. Even with terrible defense, Uggla averaged 3.9 WAR from 2006-2008. I'm not saying Cipriano is going to be the next Dan Uggla, but back in 2004 nobody expected Dan Uggla to be the next Dan Uggla either.

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