Since I am unable to watch the Spring Training games (gotta love school) I have been doing a lot of reading lately and I came across an extremely interesting fanpost at SB Nation’s Talking Chop courtesy of v2micca.
What caught my attention was not so much Freeman’s swinging mechanics, but one of the comments that mentioned Freeman’s huge bench press gain this off season. I had heard about it before but didn’t really think much of it at the time.
Apparently Freddie Freeman has gone from a 160 bench max to around a 260 bench max. That’s a huge gain, and like the commenter said shows that this is probably the first time he has really worked out in the gym but what effects will it have on his swing. Bench isn’t the best thing for your swing but getting bigger and stronger doesn’t automatically hurt you.
I’m going to bring up a guy that always brings mixed results with Braves fans. Jeff Francoeur. Ol’ Frenchy had a nice couple of seasons with the Braves before he decided to bulk up in the offseason (and also turn down a pretty good deal that he probably would take today) and try to hit for more power. We all know how that turned out and soon Frenchy was out of town.
Before you call me crazy for comparing Frenchy to Freeman let me tell you that I am definitely not. I bring up Francoeur because him and Freddie are completely different hitters. Freeman is known for his ability to hit the ball all over the field and Francoeur was more of a pull hitter. Their batted ball profiles are also extremely different with Freeman hitting more line drives, less fly balls and a higher HR/FB ration than Jeff.
Here are some links to their swings as well if you want to be like Ethan Purser and scout the mechanics.
Freeman is obviously much better at going with the pitch and hitting oppo. If you look at where the pitch is on Francoeur you will see that it is a low and outside breaking ball that he still tries to pull.
So hopefully Freeman’s better approach to hitting will allow him to add a lot of muscle (he definitely did) and not lose his swing throughout the season. It will be something to watch out for this season because if he can keep his swing intact he might be pushing 30 home runs. I would rather him focus on line drives and driving the ball around the park however because if he starts trying to hit more homeruns his strikeouts will increase and he already does that quite a bit.
So be on the lookout for Freddie Freeman this season, let me know what you think about him gaining weight, and his approach to hitting.
If you want to hear even more of my Braves thoughts follow me on Twitter @CarlosCollazoTT and be sure to like Tomahawk Take on Facebook for polls, questions, and site info.