That went better than expected. Freeman was considered something of a risk going into the season; most expected him to show raw power but there were a lot of concerns about holes in his swing and pitch recognition problems. These turned out to not be so much of a problem, and he hit just about average for a first baseman — which is pretty darned good for a 21-year-old rookie. The future looks pretty bright. Freeman’s 32 doubles and 21 homers are a good start, and so is his .282 batting average; just normal improvement should make him a real offensive plus. The biggest problem is that Heyward’s difficulties and then the McCann injury/ineffectiveness put too much of the burden on Freeman to drive the offense, and he wasn’t that good, not to mention it’s a bit of a stress on a 21-year-old rookie to be a core offensive contributor in the middle of a playoff race. Freeman hit only .143/.263/.286 in his last 14 games. He was probably tired, as rookies often are at the end of the season, finishing second on the team (to Uggla) in games played (157) and plate appearances (635).
Defensive reports differ, but generally those based on observation were kinder than those based on statistics. Generally, he did not seem to have very good range but made few mistakes and was good at saving throwing errors on the other infielders. Your call if that’s a good tradeoff; the Braves sudden fondness for guys who “make the plays they’re supposed to” (a reaction to Brooks Conrad?) may be easier on the nerves but is asking the pitchers to get a lot of outs on their own. Was thrown out stealing four times in eight attempts, largely (as I recall) on dumb sending-the-runner plays.