Frederick the Great

The Atlanta Braves are heading into All-Star break on a pretty good run, winning 7 of their last 8. At 51-36, they are sitting 4 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta has played well recently with the help of young first baseman Freddie Freeman, including two home runs from him on July 4th against the Colorado Rockies. It was the first multi-homer game of his young career.

After a slow April (.225/ 3 HRs/ 8 RBIs), Freeman improved in May and June. His average in May was an impressive .312, but he dropped down to .287 in June leading him to a .272 batting average as of July 5th. In those past two months he has hit 6 home runs and driven in 26 runs, boosting his total to 9 home runs and 34 RBIs. After a mere five days in July, Freeman has added three home runs and 5 RBIs to his totals.

He has been hitting well, but he is also starting to miss. His strikeout numbers have gone up month-to-month: 17-26-29. Although his strikeout numbers are growing, Freeman is learning to drive the ball. His slugging percentage for June was .489, going up from .393 in April. Freeman is hitting well right now, as he is fourth on the team in average and is third in home runs and RBIs. These are signs of Freeman becoming a power bat in the Atlanta lineup.

Freddie Freeman is starting to remind me of a first baseman that had a brief stint with the Atlanta Braves: Mark Teixeira. Both Freeman and Teixeira are very good defensive first basemen, and Teixeira’s first season was similar at this point in 2003 to Freeman’s season so far in 2011. Teixeira’s line before All-Star Break was .254/14 HRs/43 RBIs/.339 OBP; Freeman’s line with a few games left before All-Star Break is .272/12/39/.347. It is early to start comparing the two, but Freeman certainly has the potential to be the player that Teixeira is now.

Fantasy Impact

Freeman started slow but has definitely shown Atlanta what he is capable of. First base is a very deep position in Fantasy Baseball, but Freeman is definitely worth grabbing if you need some help due to an injury or a slump. His increase in slugging percentage (55 percentage points since April) means he is becoming more of a power hitter, so the extra-base hits and RBIs should start to rise. However, the strikeout numbers are starting to increase as well, so leagues that count strikeouts as negative points need to determine whether the good outweighs the bad for Freddie. He is still available in 44 percent of ESPN leagues and 66 percent of Yahoo leagues. He has a bright future, so he is somebody to look at for keeper leagues as well.

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5 Responses to “Frederick the Great”

  1. Chris says:

    Good! The Braves need a young player to step up in time fore Chipper’s retirement.

  2. The Fantasy Flukie says:

    I thought I was onto something with Freeman. However some jackass in my league already picked him up! ARGGHH – I’m hurting with Pujols still out. The question is can Pujols talk management into letting him play.

    I concur however Freeman is worth a flier…it is the year of the Freeman – I won my FF championship on the back of Josh Freeman 🙂

  3. Aaron says:

    Awesome Article!!

  4. TD says:

    Freddie’s HOT!!

  5. Robby says:

    Freddie Freeman has played well beyond expectations and will continue to rise. McCann, Freeman, and Heyward remind of when the Braves had that great pitching staff, but then brought up Ryan Klesko, Chipper Jones, and Javy Lopez and won the World Series. Not to mention it now looks like they have a young closer in the Mark Wholers mode and a set up man in Venters. Braves have rebuilt and Freeman is at the forefront of that leading the Braves even with Heyward having a sophomore slump and Uggla hitting bombs and only bombs with a .185 BA.

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