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  1. I’d say he’s established his level. He’s a lot better than his brother, Choo Freeman.

    Comment by shthar — January 2, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  2. God I love baseball for so many reasons. Because I’m at fangraphs it means I love numbers, projections, prospects, baseball all at the same time and all in the middle of a snowy January day.

    Comment by Dubes — January 2, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  3. I think the important thing is that Fredi Gonzalez keeps Freeman out of the three spot in the lineup until his OBP improves. Watching Freeman flail away at pitches in the three hole for almost the entire first half of the season while Jason Heyward wasted away in the 7 spot in the lineup was excruciating at times for this Braves fan last year.

    Comment by bstar — January 2, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

  4. But didn’t Freeman have a higher OBP than Heyward?

    Comment by Jon L. — January 2, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

  5. I would like this article if it were trimmed down to the analysis only. 12 of the 15 paragraphs written in this article were a literary exercise, leaving only a couple sentences of statistical analysis. I come for the numbers and analysis, not the high school writing style.

    Comment by M G — January 2, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  6. try being a padres fan for one day, man.

    Comment by RA Rowe — January 2, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

  7. # first division problems

    Comment by RA Rowe — January 2, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

  8. he had a .362 OBP, how much higher do you need it to be exactly because that’s not bad.

    Comment by yeah — January 2, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  9. Still think he’s Adam LaRoche 2.0. Great scoops and a 30 hr power ceiling.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — January 2, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

  10. Okay, I know I don’t have to read your articles etc.

    But, I mean, come on. What is with the super annoying, faux-cutesy writing? Just write about baseball! The first two paragraphs were so annoying I skipped straight to the comment section to complain about it. So, there.

    Like, what? A little bizarre musing about how Freeman has a bright future because all pro baseball players do? And then, JK LOL, it’s because he (as every reader of this site probably knows) is a well-regarded young player. So much filler. So un-charming.

    Comment by Oscar — January 2, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

  11. this is really, really refreshing to read.

    everywhere else I look (and it’s not just baseball), I see people creating narratives to explain randomness. we humans just inherently do not understand randomness, or just fight against the idea that sometimes things just happen. the patterns and trends we sometimes perceive are nothing but a series of coin flips that happened to all land heads.

    Comment by jsp2014 — January 2, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

  12. I’d say as humans it’s in our DNA to try to pull patterns out of the randomness as much as we can get away with. When your brain is too big for your own good, this is what you do..

    Comment by fergie348 — January 2, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  13. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    Comment by shubox — January 2, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

  14. Everyone is trying to be Nate Silver…Go Bengals

    Comment by Sean Murphy — January 2, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

  15. Haven’t they done studies showing that the third spot in the batting order is actually the fifth most important? Assuming thats true, keep his slightly lower OBP in the 3 spot

    Comment by TimBrownU — January 2, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

  16. i picked double-F off of the waiver wire in my fantasy league after the owner who drafted him got frustrated with his weak start — benefited from the strong second half mentioned in the article — be interesting to see how he develops in 2013 and beyond — won my league for the second year in a row, btw

    Comment by kevinthecomic — January 2, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

  17. Freddie Freeman is a goofy man.

    Comment by wilt — January 2, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

  18. Little things like “right now(!)” are why I love Jeff Sullivan articles.

    Comment by Greg — January 2, 2013 @ 8:29 pm

  19. or a Padres fan in Detroit! the let down of not making the playoffs, and the let down of laying an egg in the World Series by the Tigs!

    Comment by Polka — January 2, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

  20. try the Hooked on Phoenics Baseball site douche bag!

    Comment by Polka — January 2, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  21. A Beautiful Mind….

    Comment by Polka — January 2, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

  22. Have to agree with some of the other commenters: The third paragraph of this article is just plain weird.

    Comment by Zach B — January 2, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

  23. epic troll Oscar, came across as such a grouch.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 2, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

  24. Jeff Sullivan is the Kenny Mayne of baseball journalism. His comedic and insightful genius is under appreciated because it’s “weird”.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 2, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

  25. This is Jeff’s writing style for better or worse. It won’t make all of this articles compelling, but then again even Jay Leno misses from time to time and that’s not to say this article is a miss. He just means to point out that we take for granted that each and every player talented enough to reach the majors must have been, at one time or another, the baseball apple of someone’s eye, even if some of them end up Karim Garcia’s or Matt Bush’s. That said, you try writing something new every day for two different high-traffic websites. Sometimes you just need a niche, a way of writing that makes it so you’re not just throwing up numbers for a paragraph or two. We read to be informed. We also read to be entertained. I think Jeff does a great job at both. For reference, read his pieces on Greg Halman and Dave Niehaus. Very well done, particularly considering the events.

    Comment by JonathanAicardi — January 2, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

  26. I hear if he ever shouts “Captain Marvel” at the plate, he will gain superpowers.

    Freddie has a very unique swing for a young player. It’s one of those swings you used to see years ago, when players would develop their own swing without the aid of “proper” hitting techniques. He really waits for a ball to get deep in the zone with two-strikes, though he does have hacktastic tendencies before two strikes. Some teams still haven’t figured how to get him out (look up his splits against the Rockies).

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — January 2, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

  27. As for Freddie Freeman, I generally agree with his assertion that a breakout isn’t as likely as we might make it to be, given the late season numbers and in fact, he may have actually reached his ceiling, at least in terms of tools. Part of dreaming on a breakout is also based on what he did in the minors, namely .301/.363/.472 while significantly ahead of the age curve at every level. But based on his tools – BA had him as the same type of hitter from 2009-2011, which they consistently describe as “Mark Grace, with more power,” – he’s almost right where you’d expect. Once his defense catches up and he puts his power together with his solid plate skills, that’s probably the ceiling everyone was looking at all along. It’s not super-star glamorous and probably not “breakout” material, but it’s still a good player.

    Then again, BA in 2011 had Mike Trout’s power at 55 (a tick above-average) before he went and clubbed 30 homers in 5 months, so who knows if Freeman can improve his tools somehow.

    Comment by JonathanAicardi — January 2, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

  28. No, he had a .340 OBP. Still not bad, and not a terrible choice for the three spot depending on your options, but not .362.

    Comment by Anon21 — January 2, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

  29. freddie or goldshmidt?

    Comment by shk87 — January 3, 2013 @ 12:22 am

  30. Stick to volcanoes.

    Comment by M G Oscar — January 3, 2013 @ 12:40 am

  31. How would he know he doesn’t like it if he doesn’t read it?

    Comment by Boxkutter — January 3, 2013 @ 2:18 am

  32. Also, both were guys a lot of teams preferred as hard throwing LHP as amateurs.

    Comment by acone419 — January 3, 2013 @ 2:38 am

  33. They call me Freddie Freeman, I keep the ladies screaming , think you can defeat me your dreaming, they call me Freddie, Freddie Freeeman!

    Comment by Freddie Freeman — January 3, 2013 @ 2:48 am

  34. >disappointing first baseman

    Brandon Belt. I can’t believe the Giants threw their stock in with a minor league one year wonder.

    Comment by PrinceOfBeers — January 3, 2013 @ 3:33 am

  35. How important is the spot in the lineup when you’re talking about approaches to pitching to certain players? If I’m the pitcher, and hitter A struggles hitting change ups, it shouldn’t matter at what point he comes up, the pitchers approach will be the same. If hitter A makes adjustments and starts hitting irrespective of the gameplan the pitcher has pitched to him, then there will be improvements. I don’t think it matters where certain hitters hit, if they have a high K% and a low BB%, then there will be frustration with his results so long has his ISO is below .185.

    Comment by FAQ — January 3, 2013 @ 6:42 am

  36. Freddie Freeman is a right-handed thrower.

    Comment by FAQ — January 3, 2013 @ 6:44 am

  37. I think what’s overlooked here is Freeman led the league in bro hugs last year…

    Comment by Howie — January 3, 2013 @ 7:24 am

  38. Freddie just got fingered. Good read Jeff.

    Comment by Billion Memes — January 3, 2013 @ 7:49 am

  39. If you click on Freddie Freeman’s name at the top of the first paragraph, you can have all of the numbers, none of the writing!

    Comment by placidity — January 3, 2013 @ 8:37 am

  40. Freeman did pretty well in the 3 spot at first, it was the eye issues that eventually affected his performance enough that Gonzalez finally dropped him in the order.

    That said, I think Gonzalez has every plan to bat Heyward 3rd next year, likely followed by either Freeman or Upton.

    Comment by harpago17 — January 3, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  41. Let’s not forget the game where Freeman went 0-4 and saw a total of 4 pitches. I think his first pitch swing% was somewhere extremely close to 50%. But that’s his style, and it works. Sure, it would be great to improve his contact% and his BB%, but he doesn’t exactly need to. If he merely maintains what he has been doing since he got to the majors, he will be an above average player. But seeing that he’s 23, I think it’s fair to expect that he will get better as he sees more pitches. But I guess he could just as easily not. Or could he? Or maybe not….

    Comment by Spencer — January 3, 2013 @ 10:29 am

  42. An article stating why Freeman has a great chance of breakout.

    Comment by alex7deal — January 3, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  43. It’s called Type 1 pattern error. We are evolutionary predisposed to believe there is a pattern because our (surviving) ancestors did so. Those who heard a bush rustle and ran away because it could be a predator survived, because even though it wasn’t always a predator the ones who ignored the bush rustle were eaten.

    Comment by TheBigsdisciple — January 3, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

  44. Freeman looks to have a better OBP and ISO than Upton, so Hayward, Freeman, Upton might make sense on paper. However, once on base Upton is good at getting around to third, so hopefully they don’t set him up to get stranded there a lot.

    A statistic giving % of Plate Appearances where the batter ended up in scoring position (by any means) might help them figure out which of the three to bat 3, 4, 5… unless such a statistic would be highly correlated with OBP, in which case I guess we already have our answer.

    Comment by JKB — January 3, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  45. Does he have to be a troll? Is no criticism allowed?

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the word Jeff does and I appreciate that I can read it here for free, but we don’t all have to like his writing style. Fangraphs does make money from us being here, reading this after all. Why the down vote hordes have to come out in force when someone expresses a personal perfect or taste is beyond me.

    Comment by Daniel — January 3, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  46. Jeff’s articles make me laugh, smile and think. I like those things. The standard baseball article is lucky if it accomplishes one of those things. Haters gon hate…

    Comment by jwise224 — January 3, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

  47. Excellent article.

    Lest we all get too excited about Freddie’s 2013 potential based on his impressive second half in 2012, here are two words for you:

    Ike Davis.

    Remember how awesome he was going to be in 2012 after his impressive performance in a shortened 2011? Yeah.

    Comment by mcbrown — January 3, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  48. Excellent article Jeff. The statistical analysis is great, but do you guys really think that statistical analysis without some personal input/creativity/feeling is the way to go? We are not robots and after reading a lot of stuff on this site, I feel like the Robot character from Lost in Space (dating myself). Ever watch Ken Burns’ “Baseball?” I love the analysis, but baseball is so much more than the numbers.

    Comment by Paul — January 3, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

  49. I’m not trolling. I know that Jeff has a big following, and I’m not surprised to be downvoted etc. I just can’t understand how anyone can like his writing. I’m sure he’s a nice guy or whatever.

    Comment by Oscar — January 3, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

  50. No, he finished second to teammate Dan Uggla, who really was the father of the whole “excessive bro-hug” thing going on with the Braves the last couple of years.

    Comment by bstar — January 3, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

  51. Our ancestors who had sharpened points on sticks and stalked rustling noises in the bushes ate well and provided for the tribe.

    Comment by Larry — January 3, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

  52. on paper your ike davis remark makes sense. but the analysis you make doesn’t seem to factor in that ike had destroyed his ankle the year before and sat out for the entire year from baseball practically.

    so then ike comes back and gets valley effing fever. look up the illness. yet even with the long off time and the valley fever obtained in spring training upon his return, ike still hit 30 HRS.

    the real ike davis will show and be far more impressive in 2013.

    Comment by Don — January 14, 2013 @ 2:27 am

  53. ….and as a result the average will be where it should be and far more respectable with solid power numbers. freeman and ike will be solid.

    if you were going to try and diss freeman’s chances you would have been better served referencing hosmer from the royals.

    Comment by Don — January 14, 2013 @ 2:30 am

  54. Don’t know that I’d give up on Belt *quite* yet… There’s an awful lot to like in his supporting numbers.

    Comment by outside the box — January 25, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  55. it matters because if you have a guy that can hit behind you, the pitcher’s approach may change as he may prefer to challenge you with a fastball in the zone rather than a less controlled pitch like a breaking ball that has a better chance of resulting in a ball thus leading to a walk risk and placing that batter on base for the next guy to drive in….likewise, if the hitter behind you sucks or is struggling the pitcher may throw less fastballs and take a chance of getting the hitter to reach. even if he walks the guy the next guy is slumping so the risk is less.,,,batting order DOES matter. also if you are hittign behind guys who have high OBP pitchers will be pitching from the stretch as opposed to the full whind-up, and they’ll be rushing more hittbale fastballs down the plate so the heywards and uptons can’t get great jumps. i mean you can go on and on, but batting order def matters.

    Comment by Don — February 1, 2013 @ 9:15 am

  56. Jay Leno misses from time to time like Mark Reynolds misses a pitch from time to time.

    Comment by Sn0wman — March 20, 2013 @ 6:07 am

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