Note from Ryan: Three Flags Flying’s new podcast is up and running here and we talk a lot about 3B options should Josh Donaldson go elsewhere.
Freddie Freeman put up another Freddie season in 2019, only more so. Today’s player review looks at the star first baseman.
Freeman set career highs in home runs, RBI’s, and runs scored, without leaving the comfortable neighborhood where he spent the previous 3 seasons. The final totals: 38 HR, 121 RBI’s, 113 runs, and .295/.389/.549. A Silver Slugger award came as a result.
One hallmark of Freddie’s has been his consistency. Over the past 4 seasons, Freddie’s neighborhood has been a batting average ranging from a low of .295 to a high of .309, and an OBP in the .388 to .403 range. He’s slugged between .549 and .586 in 3 of those 4 seasons. And he’s been credited with 4.4 to 6.5 WAR.
Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number…for a 1st Baseman
Freeman turned 30 in September and that prompts the question: How many more years do we feel like we can count on Freddie being Freddie? Freeman is signed through 2021, and decisions will need to be made. He battled elbow problems at the end of 2019, culminating in arthroscopic surgery after the playoffs. In those playoffs he hit .200, with 1 homer and 6 strikeouts in 20 at-bats.
If only there were some one we could compare Freddie to in order to make some kind of projection…
21 Eddie Murray (965.7) *
22 Eddie Murray (956.7) *
23 Eddie Murray (976.2) *
24 Eddie Murray (954.4) *
25 Eddie Murray (944.8) *
26 Eddie Murray (944.3) *
27 Eddie Murray (934.6) *
28 Eddie Murray (930.3) *
29 Eddie Murray (936.7) *
* – Signifies Hall of Famer
Oh. Look at that.
Freeman’s most similar hitter by age has been Eddie Murray every single season of his career. Murray was really good through age 34 and played until he was 41. Past performance is no guarantee of future results my attorney obligates me to state, but that is pretty encouraging. Like other 30-somethings, the unanswerable questions are: how well can he avoid injury, and how quickly can he recover from those injuries he does incur.
Freddie’s consistency makes me believe that a healthy Freeman is a good bet to avoid a sudden drop off. There’s nothing fluky in his career to this point. With the reportedly successful surgery, I believe Freddie will maintain his consistent level for at least a couple more seasons, and even a moderately declining Freeman is still pretty dang good.
I like having Mr. Freeman in our neighborhood.
If you enjoyed the 2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review on Freddie, check this one out on another star!
Thanks for reading!