Freddie Freeman

Not the first time that the Braves have handed first base over to a basically untested rookie. Adam LaRoche was given the first base job in 2004 with no major league experience at all; after a pretty severe adjustment period and an injury, he rebounded with his usual fine second half. Freeman lacks LaRoche’s plate discipline, at this point in his development anyway, but has hit for higher averages and is several years younger than Adam was as a rookie, with more pure power potential.

Freeman was a second-round pick the same year that Jason Heyward was a first-rounder, and the two have become fast friends who mostly tracked each other in their rise through the system. He killed the ball in Rome in 2008 and kept hitting in Myrtle Beach in 2009, but hit a big wall upon a midseason promotion to Mississippi, looking pretty hopeless. He was one of the youngest players in the Southern League, and rather than have him repeat the level the Braves fast-tracked him to AAA, where he was, I think, the second- or third-youngest player in the International League. He was also one of the best players in the league, hitting .319/.378/.521 and winning Rookie of the Year honors, because the International League has a rookie of the year award, go figure. The Braves called him up, and while he hit the ball hard at times he didn’t do much, with just four hits (including a homer and a double) and no walks in 24 plate appearances.

He’s a great big guy (listed at 6-5, 225) with a long swing, and there are a lot of people who think he’s going to have problems adjusting to major league pitching. It’s possible that what you’d get might be a fairly low batting average without a lot of walks — say .250 with a .300 OBP — but that he’ll hit some long home runs. An athletic player and a good glove man at first, an unusual combination for a guy who’s mostly a power threat. It’s possible that his career will kind of track the man whom he’s replacing, Derrek Lee, also a tall first baseman with a big swing (though righthanded); Lee debuted at 21 but didn’t really break through until he was 24.

Freddie Freeman Statistics

80 thoughts on “Freddie Freeman”

  1. You seem optimistic about Freeman’s HR potential, Mac. I’ve seen a lot of people express concern that he won’t hit many HRs long term, let alone in his rookie year. I think we’ll see more doubles than HRs in the near-term and the majority of HRs to be of the line drive variety.

    I just hope people don’t get down on him if he doesn’t hit right out of the gate the way Heyward did.

  2. winning Rookie of the Year honors, because the International League has a rookie of the year award, go figure

    I guess that made Louth the Comeback Player of the Year?

  3. That was actually worse because we wasted two spots on Thorman and a Craig Wilson 1B platoon.

    Add in Willie Harris, Corky Miller, Langerhans, Julio Franco, Brandon Jones, and Chris Woodward. What an awful roster construction… I really dont want to get started about the pitching staff either. JS really handed over Wren a bunch of crap.

  4. I see Freeman has a Kent Hrbek (only with basic decency) type and we would be doing well if he can have something approaching the year the Twins 1B had at 22(his first full season). Hrbek was productive: .301/.365/.485 for a .848 OPS….

  5. Wow – something really terrible is happening. You should all check out cnn or fox or whatever you prefer asap.

  6. Anyone who thinks that playing Freeman 150 games isn’t going to kill us is crazy.

    He ain’t ready. Not sure with that big, loopy swing that he ever will be.

  7. 9 – justhank, I don’t see what the alternative is. What’s left for Freeman to accomplish with another AAA season ? I don’t think the Braves are expecting huge things or expecting him to hit high in the order. I think they know it may be rough at times next year, but he’s the best option.

    I think it is a fair point to raise though. To me the Braves seem to have no viable plan if McLouth sucks again and Freeman sucks. Even if only one of those things happen and Chipper can’t stay healthy, help is going to have to come from outside the organization, and it would probably end up costing some of the pitching depth. I guess that’s the emergency plan.

  8. Dawgs were fortunate to catch this group of freshmen early in the season, but still a great win. Price and Barnes brought a lot of energy on defense and rebounding, Thompkins did his thing like he does, and talk about free throw shooting. 30-34!

  9. #12
    Good defense overall also. Nice start to league play. Can’t believe the success from the line.

    And if the Seahawks hang on, Falcons fans really gotta root for the Eagles tomorrow. If Philly wins, the Falcons host Seattle next week, instead of Green Bay.

    Truly horrible, downright depressing stuff.

  10. Ububba,

    If the Seahawks win, I don’t care who wins the Packers-Eagles game. I think that the Saints and Eagles are really the only two teams that can beat Atlanta at home. If the Eagles win, we get the extremely beatable Seahawks. If the Packers win, we get a game that we’ve already won and eliminate the other team that I think that can beat us.

    Our chances for earning the right to lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl look really great.

  11. The Packers absolutely can beat the Falcons. They may be the best team in the conference. ububba’s right that it would be a huge break for ATL to get the Seahawks.

    Meanwhile, in Columbia … ugh.

  12. #15
    Why would you ever want to play a team that can possibly beat you instead of a team that probably can’t?

    Packers have the best defense in the NFC & a really scary QB. Not a great running game, but I still believe Green Bay can beat anyone. They should’ve won at New England, and with their backup QB.

    Also, I don’t believe there’s a ton of difference between the Top 5 NFC teams. IMO, the Falcons could beat or lose to GB, Pha, Chi or NO in the Georgia Dome. So I’d much rather play Seattle.

  13. I rarely watch pro football, but that GB-NE game was exceptionally hard hitting. I wouldn’t want any part of GB if I could avoid it.

  14. Ububba,

    It isn’t just about the next game. I have greater faith that we’ll beat the Packers and Bears at home than I do in that we’ll beat the Hawks (especially after today) and Eagles at home. Disregarding the Falcons, I believe that the most dangerous teams remaining are: Philadelphia, Chicago, Green Bay, and Seattle. I am slightly more confident in beating the middle two than I am in beating the bookends.

    Also, my initial comment should be clarified to say, “If the Seahawks beat the Saints, I will be so gracious to the Football Gods that I will not complain about who we’re going to be facing in the next game”.

  15. DOB –

    Kawakami update: Wren continues looking for the right trade proposal for starting pitcher Kenshin Kawakami, who is owed $6.7 million in the final year of his contract and does not have a spot in the Braves’ rotation plans. Wren said that two or three major league teams have offered to pay more than$2 million of what Kawakami is owed, but the Braves are not willing to trade him just to dump whatever part of his salary they can.

    With at least seven or eight teams still needing starting pitchers and few remaining unsigned free-agent options, the Braves seem confident they will be able to trade Kawakami to a team willing to pay a larger portion of his salary.

  16. @20
    i call horseshit on that. if the braves could have gotten 2 million for kawakami they would have taken it. dob is fluffing kk’s value.

  17. I think KK’s got some value. He’s a decent ML pitcher. I think a team or two out there would be willing to pay a couple million plus some filler prospect or two for that.

  18. #22–Agree…KK has some value and it could even go higher.–if he were to have a good spring and start well in either AA or AAA, his trade value might actually increase. That is a risk Wren would have to take, but I like the fact that so far he has not sold low….

  19. I got to see Freeman last year for three games. He hit two monster homeruns and was really slick at first. He’s also scary big in person. I had a full-on man crush after day three.

    I’ve also convinced one of my good friends that he’s Jewish. Not a sports fan at all but every time I see him he asks how Freeman is doing. If he finds out about Ryan Braun I’m going to lose a new Braves fan.

  20. #25–I would rather not see this or trying to understand the the twisted thinking here. I have assumed that we are a long way from worrying about a player’s ethnic identity. I am guessing that the intent here is harmless, but it comes out very badly. Obviously, there is no place for anti-semitism in baseball or anywhere else….

  21. 26 — I think you read his post wrong, but changing the subject…

    Where does Freeman bat in the order? 6th, between Uggla and AAG?

  22. AAG, McLouth and Freeman. Then a pitcher. If you look up “screeching halt” …

    So we were right: South Carolina is the best basketball team in the East.

    The only time Kentucky tackles someone is when they are not supposed to.

  23. 32- Good win for the Dawgs yesterday. Stegeman was rockin’; full house cheering on the Dawgs. The game came down to FT shooting – UGA couldn’t miss and UK couldn’t hit. Unusual for both teams.

    The silver lining in my visit to Athens yesterday was that Frank Wren sat behind us. I don’t think anyone recognized him but me. Super nice guy. Talked NFL playoffs, Garza trade, Uggla contract, college baseball (his sons go to GT)….. really personable guy. He was there with a buddy from Florida that likes UK.

  24. Aha, interesting theory. Auburn is certainly far from blameless, but it is odd to see a writer at a major newspaper spend so much of his time dissecting a university in Alabama.

  25. Thamel is purportedly tight with Meyer. The story itself is kinda weird, in that it’s all old news, without even bothering to flesh out why this is relevant today, other than some dark mutterings about “Auburn, a state-financed university, has churned through presidents, athletic directors and football coaches during Lowder’s time on the board” without quantifying this or comparing to some standard to show that this is even true.

    Just keepin’ the story going I guess, since his breathless “breaking news” earlier in the year didn’t have the apparent desired result.

  26. @39 There’s also a bit about Jacobs avoiding the media lately, yet I’m watched a video of him in Glendale yesterday and I’m reading an interview on ESPN. Just weird.

    Thanks for the link, Mac. I don’t really understand why McCann doesn’t get more love. Playing for a mid market team in the south didn’t hurt Heyward’s publicity.

  27. So… Green Bay, it is.

    What story? The Cam Newton story? The Lowder story doesn’t once mention Cam Newton. Or his dad.

    We can disagree about the story’s relevance or its specific truths. If there’s something untrue in the story, you’ll see legal action at most, a correction/retraction at least.

    But from my view, the story works because Auburn is playing in the BCS title game tomorrow night & this is a stark illustration about the recent culture of Auburn football. For folks who don’t follow the SEC every day, this isn’t old news.

    Takeaway quote from the Auburn history prof: “For Lowder, this all has to be bittersweet. Perhaps more than anything else in his life he wants Auburn to win the national championship. Now he’s been marginalized.”

    Let’s face it, whether you’re reporting on Cam Newton’s father or writing program backstories about Bobby Lowder, Auburn football provides some great copy. You don’t have to make anything up.

    Re: Yesterday’s Events
    Another terrible addendum: The 9-year-old girl killed in the Arizona rampage was Dallas Green’s granddaughter.

  28. @26 I don’t think it’s anti-semitic. My friend is at the Jewish Theological Seminary (and obviously is Jewish) and he just has a good-natured interest in seeing Jews succeed in ways that would undermine stereotypes about Jews that still exist in society.

    He assumed Freeman was Jewish for some reason and I’ve been letting him think it. We have the kind of juvenile male relationship that often revolves around tricking each other.

    I was just joking that if he found out about Ryan Braun (and how good he is) he’d stop being as interested in talking about the Braves with me. Which is difficult to do in NYC.

    At any rate, I’m sorry if it offended you.

    And very sorry we got the Packers. God they look scary.

  29. God they look scary.

    Now, you’ve offended Jews and Christians. What’s next, an irreverent Muhammad cartoon?

  30. I do believe Sharia law demands that Aaron Rogers must fail in the playoffs. I’m going to pray for it five times a day till Saturday.

  31. Don’t sweat it, jd. My Jewish friends and I share some good-natured cracks, too — it just doesn’t always translate to a general audience.

    In other news, I lost a boatload of prop bets on tonight’s game…they were all predicated on a shootout. Absurdly awful clock management by McCarthy at the end of the first half. They should have had 1:45 to work with after the FG. The emergence of a running game should give the Falcons pause, but I’m not worried about being outcoached.

  32. I generally like living in the South, but the way people lose their minds when it snows is so embarrassing and annoying.

  33. Where are you from, sdp? There is nothing more annoying in the entire course of human existence, IMO, than yankees complaining about Southerners’ winter weather concerns. The fact is, Southern towns are not prepared to handle much snow in such a way that travelers are made safe. So, people freak out because they have reason to freak out. Historically, it doesn’t make financial sense to invest in much snow preparedness, so it’s just one of those things you deal with.

  34. Our reaction to ice storms is just further proof that we are inbred hillbillies.

    Don’t you know your place, Stu?

    Pete Thamel will be here shortly to write about it.

  35. I agree with Stu, though people do panic like they are going to be trapped in their houses for months.

    The local Bi Lo was sold out of bread today, it was kind of funny

  36. Well I got to see my first White Christmas this year and I hope its my last. I hate snow and everything that comes with it.

  37. Smitty, my octegenarian father-in-law was trapped in his house about 70 miles from you for a week two years ago. It was a very scary situation.

    It’s ice, not snow, that we’re talking about.

  38. In WI we’ve got snow on the ground that might still be around in April. It did warm up for a few days at the end of December, though. We’ll see what happens.

    It’s not the severity of the winter here that gets me; it’s the length.

  39. 54
    Where I live it snowed heavily for about ten straight hours on Friday, once the snow had stopped I went out for a walk with my dog around my heavily wooded residential neighborhood. All the conifers were holding ridiculous amounts of snow on their branches to the point of sagging and the deciduous trees were completely coated, and even though it was late at night the combination of everything being covered with whiteness and an overcast misty night created an eerie brightness. It was truly breathtaking, nearly magical. But these moments aren’t common. What most of us associate with snow is a continual dampness (especially of the feet and pants), the backbreaking act of shoveling, scraping your car, traffic/driving complications, the gross gray sludge that builds up everywhere, having to dress accordingly, and vehicular salt damage… just to name a few. It gets to be a drag, especially if you don’t ski.

  40. 57—Then, surely, you’ve seen your local government’s winter ineptitude in action. How can you possibly fault people for worrying about safety?

  41. #54 – Snow is nice to look at, but Im an outdoors guy and I absolutely hate being confined to my house. It causes accidents, power outages, and everything else.

  42. We’ve got about 2 inches of snow in Huntsville and it’s been snowing for about 2 hours – the majority has accumulated in the last 30 minutes. Poeple have made a run on the grocery stores all over town. I heard stories at church this morning of several stores being out of milk and bread. Our local Kroger had about 60% of it’s normal stock. There was skim milk, but no whole milk.

  43. Stephen, I understand your trepidation, but it’s actually pretty common. Many Jews (myself often included) take pleasure in hearing of the success of other Jews, out of ethnic pride and solidarity. It’s pretty common in most ethnic communities, I’d guess.

  44. @63 Aw, it’s not that bad. I’ll drink it straight out of the bottle.

    Mac I have appreciated your tweets mocking the doom and gloom reporting about the “2011 SLUSH STORM FROM HELL!” Auburn is closing the campus tomorrow because of it and I won’t get to watch the game in the arena. All because of a little sleet.

  45. #25 +64–The added context (#44) greatly clarifies things and I sort of guessed that something like that might explain the remark….

    I take the points about ethnic pride (#48)–but, yes, I don’t think that it works for a general audience. I come from a Germanic background, but it would probably not be appealing to hear me and others extolling German athletic achievements.

    No one complains, of course, during the World Cup, which may well help to explain its popularity…..

  46. Been up north for 20 years & I can’t say that I enjoy anything about snow, other than hunkering down at home with a bunch or DVDs or music during a snowstorm or nor’easter. I quit trying to drive in it a long time ago.

    Y’know, 3 of these 4 NFL matchups next week look really good.

  47. @44 + @68 For me, since I have a bit of a drawl, it’s southerners who’ve reached a distinguished and respected status in society. They interviewed a neurosurgeon who works here in NYC and he sounded like he just stepped off the porch. I welled with pride.

    Also, Stephen I think people tend to ethnically identify when they feel isolated from society in some way. My friend, for instance, gets particularly worked up about the stereotype that Jews are weak or unsuited for sports, so when Yuri Foreman steps in the ring his success means something more to my friend and in his view to all Jews than say a random white gentile fighter would mean to me. Though I will say Gerry Cooney will be avenged.

    People of German descent are so well integrated at this point that they have no more bones to pick with society at large. If there’s no chip on your shoulder then there’s no need for excess pride.

    Pitchers and catchers better start soon! We’re going to degenerate into debates about monetary policy at this rate.

    Also, few hours since Mac’s last post. Has anyone checked to see if he’s dead in a block of ice yet?

  48. ububba!! No sledding in Central Park!! You’re missing the winter ritual of communing with the children of Manhattanites and the children of Manhattanites turned twenty-something hipsters. The wonder and ironic wonder in their respective eyes is an urban miracle.

  49. Sled dogs are being sent. To eat. There’s no escape. Try to rebuild society as best you can. You’re gonna need a lot more words for snow. It’s a place to start.

  50. My father, who grew up in an era when there was much more anti-semitism, was always trying to figure out which athletes were Jewish. There is a blog I read called “Kaplan’s Corner on Jews and Sports.” Believe me, if Freddie Freeman was Jewish, I would have heard about it.

    By the way, Keith Law calls Freeman “a nice player but not a star.” Considering recent first basemen for the Braves, I would take that.

  51. If Freeman doesn’t pan out at firstbase our next one will choke to death on vomit of an unknown origin.

  52. Any blog that has a headline calling Farve crazy in Yiddish should have a special place in heaven.

    Also, I’m going to have to confess and send David the link. When he finds out the Outland Trophy award winner is Jewish and 6’7/330 he’ll be giddy.

  53. Update from 2022: He’s been an all-star 5 times, MVP in 2020, multiple silver slugger awards, led the Braves to a World Championship. Still in the league at age 32.

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