In the 2nd round of the 2007 amateur MLB draft, the Atlanta Braves selected a 6’5”, 225-pound high school senior out of El Modena High in Orange California. He led his team to the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Quarterfinals his senior year batting .417 and going 6-1 as the team’s ace pitcher. Shooting through the Braves minor league system, the every day first baseman in Atlanta is set to have a breakout season.
Frederick “Freddie” Charles Freeman will be entering his third full season at the MLB level with the Atlanta Braves and has only began scratching the surface of what he could become. In 2008 as an 18-year-old and his first full season as a pro, he shot on the top prospect list for the Braves after hitting 18 homeruns with a .316 batting average. Heading into the 2009 season he was ranked as the fifth best prospect in the Atlanta Braves farm system and he showed his hitting ability the previous season was no fluke. As he jumped from High A to AA ball in 2009 he had a combined on base percentage of .363 while still blasting eight bombs in a transition year. In both the Carolina League (High A) and the Southern League (AA) he was rewarded with the Best Defensive 1B award.
Entering the 2010 season, Freddie was ranked as the Braves number two prospect by Baseball America. Before the season began, he was promoted to AAA were he excelled with both his bat and glove. In Gwinnett (AAA) he hit .319 with 18 more homeruns, 87 RBI’s and a slugging percentage of .521. He was recognized as the organizations Best Hitter for Average as well as Best Power Hitter. Freeman again received the Best Defensive 1B award but now in AAA. On September 1st 2010, Freddie was giving his first shot at the MLB level when Troy Glaus was struggling through the late months of the season. Though he only played sporadically once he was brought up and only had four hits in 24 at bats, the organization saw the potential for their future at first base.
Freeman began the 2011 season as the Atlanta Braves regular first baseman. Though he struggled at the beginning of the season, he exploded in July having 38 hits for a batting average of .362 and a .433 on-base percentage. He ended the 2011 season second in the running for Rookie of the Year to teammate Craig Kimbrel after hitting 21 homeruns with 76 RBI’s and a batting average of .282 as a rookie.
Avoiding the speculated sophomore slump, Freeman backed his season prior with another worthy season. Throughout the season, he had vision problems causing, at times, minor slumps. He was forced to wear eye vision glasses that were a temporary fix to the problem and after, he showed he is capable of being a top first baseman in the league. Hitting 23 more bombs and leading the team in RBI’s with 94, Freddie is a major part of the Braves future.
This season, 2013, I see Freddie taking the next steps to greatness. He had surgery to correct his vision problem that will only help continue his growth. With the addition of the Upton brothers to the Braves lineup, Freeman won’t be forced to be the main contributor of the offense. Though there is a chance he will bat 4th in the lineup, he will have so many talented ball players around him to not strive off of it. He has tremendous gap-to-gap average and that is one of my favorite attributes of Freddie Freeman. The opposite field gap double just seems so right when we watch the play unfold. Freeman has the knack to hit with opposite field power and average while he also displays tremendous power to the right side. He’s a very durable positional player to have in the lineup as he’s only missed 20 games throughout his first two seasons. With his above average fielding skills, a plus glove and a great bat, Freeman will be fun to watch in 2013.