Freddie Freeman & Chris Johnson – Getting the Job Done All Year Long

Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

There are two guys that stick out to me this year who were able to put together great seasons, and then follow that up with a great postseason. Both of them had career years, and both were consistent hitters from Opening Day until the last out was made on Monday night. Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson.

Freeman

Freddie broke out with a monster year in 2013. For the first time in his career he was able to hit over .300, and finished the year with a .319 average. He had 176 hits, an OB% of nearly .400 and went deep 23 times which tied a career high. He hit .443 (58 for 131) with runners in scoring position, leading to 109 RBI.

In the postseason he continued his good hitting. He was 5 for 16 (.313) and scored 4 runs. Unfortunately he did not drive in any runs as he was 0 for 4 with RISP, but he was hitting during the Division Series which can’t be said for everyone.

Johnson

Chris had really big shoes to fill assuming the position Chipper Jones left vacant. Having Juan Francisco early in the year may have helped that along, but for the majority of the year he was the man at the hot corner and he was one of the NL’s best hitters. Johnson really proved he was a true hitter with a .321 average during the regular season, and was over .330 for most of the year. He did tally a lot of strikeouts for a base-hit guy, but when he got rolling everything fell for him.

He may have shined the brightest during the Division Series though. 7 for 16 (.438) with 5 RBI. He drove in over a third of the Braves runs and without him it may not have been as close as it was. He seemed to deliver key hit after key hit.

Amid all the disappointment, at least we can take some solace that the corners of our infield were as solid as they could be.

 

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  • Jesus

    Part of me wants to trade CJ 2.0 at max value before his BABIP crashes back to earth and he loses most of his value. But part of me hopes he can maintain…. it’s a tough call

  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Many sabermetric analysts continue to insist that we will never see that kind of year out of Chris Johnson again. That could be true, but numbers don’t tell you that, just as the numbers didn’t tell anyone about the surprising year he would have. Statistical anomaly? Perhaps, but sometimes a player just gets hot, figures things out, and gets on a team with the right coaches and a group of guys that help propel them to a new level. It’s actually pretty easy to say, “he won’t have that kind of year again” about a player that almost won an NL batting title. It’s not every year you do that anyway. Will he contribute in amazing ways to the Braves for as long as he is a Brave? I’d bet yes.

    • Jesus

      Here’s how it is though man, his BABIP was .394, higher than Trout, Votto, Mauer,Cabrera…etc Highest BABIP for a qualified player since Austin Jackson’s .396 in 2010. (a year where Jackson hit 293/.345/.400.)
      since then Jackson has hit around .270/.340/.440 which is fine because he plays CF , walks around 9% of the time and plays great defense.
      IF CJ 2.0 drops to a .360 BABIP , with his limited walk ability (avg around 5%) and mediocre to bad defense, his value starts to become near replacement level. I mean the guy had a .354 wOBA with a 127 wRC+ and was still only worth 3 wins for an entire season.

      If his BABIP falls, be prepared for mediocrity.

      • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

        You are correct about that. Rarely see BABIP shoot up like that… off the charts up! I don’t expect it to stay there at all, but I don’t think he will come down to the negative level I think some expect He was hitting to all fields on a level he’s never done before, and that sort of performance is hard to explain outside of just being amped to be a new team, figuring something out, etc. I don’t know the reasons, but for now I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

        • Josh Barnhill

          I don’t think he will hit .320+ again, but he is a solid .280-.300 hitter I think. I think he can basically give you Martin Prado numbers, but he won’t move runners over, do all the little things, and play solid defense like Prado. Still a good trade, and he was awesome this year for the most part. I don’t think we should lean on him or offer a big contract, but as long as the Braves can still control his options we should, he is a solid player. I don’t like his temper though, it’s very childish at times.

        • Jesus

          negative? I doubt that, if he can improve his D a little bit and take just a few more walks, he could still be a 2 win player, and that’s valuable.

  • Lee Trocinski

    Amazingly, CJ’s WPA for the season was 0.24, behind Schafer, Pena, and Gattis, as well as the expected McCann, Heyward, J-Up, and Freddie. He started hitting to all fields in ’11, so that isn’t the cause. His drop in K rate has been overlooked, but the drop in power offsets that. I’d trade him if you can get an above-average 2B back for him.

    • fireboss

      I agree Lee.. (don’t faint) – his value is high now and If I could convince someone to take Uggla with him (or without as I suspect they’ll DFA him if they can’t find him a home) I’d certainly trade him. I like Chris as a person but his defense is marginal and will suffer if he comes back to his card as I expect. He sacrificed power for gap to gap hitting which is fine, laudable even, and honestly we should have 75-80 homers in the outfield if B.J. comes back from the abyss. That would cover his power ‘shortage. I’m actually happy with Pena at second if La Stella can’t make the jump. The selections is skinny out there now.r

      • Matthew Jones

        The only problem that I can see with this is that we don’t have someone even like Big Juan to come in and take his place. So basically you’d have another hole to fill. That said….I think y’all are right. I don’t think that we see Johnson repeat these numbers unless he’s hitting ahead of someone like Freeman.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    I truly can’t believe what I’m reading here. Of course you have to keep CJ!
    1. Even if he ‘regresses’ 50 points off his batting average… he’d STILL have been second on the team in hitting (among those with >150 PAs).
    2. As Matt pointed out, who do you find to replace him if you trade him?
    > Nobody is available (unless you wanna see if Kevin Towers would give Prado back to us)

    > Nobody comes as cheap as he is now

    Guys who perform like that need to be kept – not traded away – *unless* you have a surplus of talent at that position. Was it a ‘career year’ – almost historic? Yeah – but I see no reason to assume that it’s all downhill from here. And as I say, even if he comes down a bit, he’s still head-and-shoulders above most others on the roster. We need the rest of that roster to come up to that level… not get rid of somebody leading the pack.

    Now once (if) Ed Salcedo comes along, then the calculus changes. But until then, he still qualifies as a steal. That’s still at least a year away.