In my opinion, Freddie Freeman is, and has been for a few years now, one of the best baseball players not just for the Atlanta Braves, and not just in the National League, but in all of baseball, at least offensively. Of course while Freddie’s range is perhaps somewhat limited defensively, he’s no slouch at 1B either, regularly digging balls out of the dirt, and doing other amazing things on the other hot corner. He’s much faster on his feet than he’s given credit for, handles the glove well, and makes good decisions defensively. However, as good as Freddie is with the glove, I want to focus on his bat for this spotlight article.
Freddie Freeman has shown a marked improvement each year since his debut with the Atlanta Braves in 2010. A quick look at his offensive progression shows the steady incline in his abilities and value to the Atlanta Braves, and we’ll take a look at some of those numbers in more detail.
Freeman’s 2010 – 2014
|162 Game Avg.||162||659||581||87||168||33||1||24||97||2||1||64||135||.290||.363||.476||.840||126|
Some Cool Numbers
Freddie Freeman has played full-time for the Atlanta Braves for going on three+ years now, and there has been a steady progression in his numbers each year (for the most part), in everything from hits and runs, to homers and RBIs, to fewer strikeouts, and to an increasing Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, OPS and OPS+.
It’s still early in the 2014 season, but Freeman is playing exceedingly well so far, with a .397 BA, .481 OBP, and as is bolded in the Baseball Reference table above, is leading in SLG, OPS, and OPS+. I want to look more closely at those bolded numbers in a minute, but let’s preface that by looking at some of Freddie Freeman’s other numbers, so far in 2014.
As I mentioned, Freeman is currently #1 in Slugging Percentage, #1 in OPS (On Base % + Slugging), and #1 in OPS+ (adjusted for ballparks) and #1 in Total Bases. In addition to leading in those stats, he’s also #2 in OBP (On Base Percentage), and #3 in Offensive WAR, Batting Average, and Hits. Those kind of numbers put Freddie Freeman in the same company as better known players this year such as Chase Utley, Troy Tulowitzki, Paul Goldschmidt, and others, and he doesn’t have to take a backseat to any of them!
One of the most impressive stats for Freeman this year, so far, has been his OPS and OPS+ numbers. Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien tweeted the following just recently with regard to Freeman’s OPS:
#Braves Freddie Freeman’s 1.200 OPS is the major league leader ahead of Utley (1.198). Trout (1.076) leads AL.
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) April 19, 2014
Freeman’s OPS have increased since that tweet! As a stat head, of course I’ve been paying attention to Freeman’s production, but as a Braves’ fan I was just enjoying the wonderful scenery every time Freddie stepped up to the plate! I knew his numbers were good, but while people are generally quick to take notice of Chase Utley’s amazing .406 BA, or Giancarlo Stanton‘s amazing 26 RBIs, the OPS and OPS+ numbers for Freeman are just as, if not more impressive in some respects.
OPS is simply adding together a player’s Slugging Percentage together with their On Base Percentage, and while you may talk to some who hold religiously to advanced metrics (saberists) who will tell you they don’t like the OPS stat (chiefly because it combines both OBP and SLG, and OBP IS the much more important stat), OPS is a useful stat because, as FanGraphs points out, OPS…
… accounts for all the different aspects of offense: contact, patience, and and power. You can find OPS on baseball cards and in broadcasts, and it’s a simple statistic for regular baseball fans to understand.
I’ll leave traditionalists and saberists (I hate labels) to argue the merits of stats, but I would add that Freddie Freeman is also leading in the less well known OPS+ stat as well, which most advanced metrics people love. OPS+, is, according to FanGraphs, a statistic that…
… normalizes a player’s OPS — it adjusts for small variables that might affect OPS scores (e.g. park effects) and puts the statistic on an easy-to-understand scale.
Check out FanGraphs for more information on these traditional and advanced metrics. It make for interesting reading regardless of the methods you use to enjoy and follow the great game of baseball. The point of my spotlight on Freddie this evening was not so much to analyze him, or get bogged down in all the metrics and numbers we tend to throw at you. Rather, I wanted to spotlight Freddie simply because I believe he’s the best player on the Braves’ roster, one of the best in all of baseball, and a player that never seems to quite get the respect he deserves! I picked Freeman a couple weeks ago to win an MVP, or a Batting Title, or perhaps both this year, and he’s certainly on track to compete for it.
Tags: Atlanta Braves