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  1. Freeman is a Gold Glove calibre firstbaseman. Forget the sabermetrics and watch him play sometime.

    Comment by bvilebaron — February 14, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  2. I watch a large amount of Braves games. Freeman is not an above average defender. Being good at scooping bad throws does not make one a good first baseman.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/first-basemen-scoops/

    Comment by Ben Duronio — February 14, 2012 @ 10:10 am

  3. I suggest you keep watching then.

    Comment by bvilebaron — February 14, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  4. I understand the concern with the downgrade from Gonzalez to Pastornicky at SS, which is a legitmate concern for Hudson defensively. I am a bit confused by the concern at the other positions though. While you make the arguement that all 3 are below average (I disagree on Freeman, but that’s not important for this arguement), they are the same 3 players that were behind Hudson last year, so to expect his performance to decrease as a result of them doesn’t make any sense…there has been no change in defense at those positions. You also bring up Chipper’s advancing age, which is a legitimate concern, but I actually view it as a reason the defense is likely to be improved, since less time on the field for Chipper means more time on the field for Prado, the superior defender at 3b.

    There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about Tim Hudson’s production in 2012: his back surgery, the downgrade from Gonzalez to Pastornicky, and simply advancing age. But pointing out factors that have remained constant from 2011 to 2012 as negatives simply doesn’t make any sense.

    Comment by harpago17 — February 14, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  5. Here’s an article in May about his defense: http://capitolavenueclub.com/?p=4202

    It did not improve much over the course of the season. Watching games does not give you a terrific impression of his range either, but he does not have great reaction time. Here is an example of that, taken from the last game of the season.

    http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?c_id=mlb&content_id=19785533&query=game_pk%3D289319

    Comment by Ben Duronio — February 14, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  6. Freeman’s range was an issue, and he put on more weight which makes it hard to see him improving in that regard. Chipper’s range has been in decline, and that decline is expected to continue. It is not as if the players’ performance will be constants despite it being the same group. Additionally, the biggest difference will be at shortstop, and Hudson’s success on grounders was already worse than it had been in recent years. Taking away the best defender and subbing in an average defender in his place will hurt, as will the expected worse defense from third base and first base.

    Comment by Ben Duronio — February 14, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  7. Tim Hudson’s back surgery is also gonna hurt him this season….hopefully he’s good to go after missing a few weeks to start the season.

    Comment by Scott Clarkson — February 14, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  8. Totally agree on the SS issue. Disagree on the Chipper issue since I don’t see him getting any worse and still being able to stay on the field, meaning that we are likely to see more Prado this year, leading to a net positive. As for Freeman, the weight might have an impact, but I could easily argue that it would be outweighed (no pun intended) by another year of experience in reading balls off the bat. Range at first base is much more dependant upon quick reactions than top end speed, so I don’t see his weight playing a huge factor there. I do think an extra year of experience for a player that has only been playing 1b for 3 seasons could make a difference though.

    Comment by harpago17 — February 14, 2012 @ 10:50 am

  9. Well that one video which you linked which shows poor reaction time on Freeman’s part is conclusive evidence that he has lousy reaction time generally. How about if you show others videos where he frequently made great picks on hard hit balls? Or how about the video where he ran down a ball hit over his head down the first base line and threw out a runner trying to tag up from third and the announcer mentioned Freeman may have the strongest throwing arm on the team.

    Comment by bvilebaron — February 14, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  10. Freeman rocks. I am uniquely impressed by great first base throwing arms. The extra 15 pouns intrigues me, hopefully it’s muscle and not too much pizza and beer in the offseason. I look forward to seeing Freeman’s immense, towering frame, and watching him assert his dominance at the plate this season.

    Comment by Brad of This Nation — February 14, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  11. This article is talking about the amount of area the infielders can cover. While Freeman is great at picking balls, he needs to be near the ball in order to do that. If he can’t get to the ball, his great scooping ability is negated. Jason Giambi was great at scooping, but he was never considered a good let alone great fielder.

    Comment by tim204 — February 14, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  12. Gotta love the old “You dont know you dont watch the game Derek Jeter Defense” defense. Its scientifically proven thats stats and scouting do nottell as much as a fan on a couch watching highlights on sportcenter.

    Comment by Vinny — February 14, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

  13. Yes, because first basemen typically save so many runs with all the throws they have to make.

    Comment by bsally — February 14, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  14. I wonder if the front office has even considered switching Prado and Uggla? I think I remember where Uggla was against it but it would clearly benefit the team.

    Comment by DV — February 14, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  15. Call me old fashioned, but when I evaluate IF defense, I first look at the player who touches the ball most, the 1B. In Freeman, they have someone who can be a game changer with his arm. He should field all relay throws from the outfield and that would render any questions about his range moot. Put the strongest arm on the team at 1B, I always say.

    Comment by Eddie Money (no, not the singer) — February 14, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

  16. This wasn’t a fan watching sportscenter highlights. It was a Braves fan who has seen more of their games than I would say the OP has. It deserves a mention. I’m sure I saw 155+ Braves games last year, and I would agree that Freeman’s scooping ability, arm, and ability to stretch that extra six inches to get the throw from second base during double plays all help his defense at least a little more than a one-year UZR sample suggests. Gold Glove? probably not. Below average? No way.

    Comment by bstar — February 14, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  17. To his credit, Tim Hudson has been amazingly consistent his whole career, never posting a losing season once. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he leads the Braves in wins once again.

    Comment by bstar — February 14, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

  18. I em pretty sure los Bravos are going with the all 1stbaseman infield strategy…Chipper, Uggla, and Freeman are all fine firstbaseman. All they need is Jeter at short and they’d be set!

    I, too, love Freeman’s arm.

    Comment by Juan Alou — February 15, 2012 @ 12:39 am

  19. why the heck would you put the strongest arm at 1st base? Are you being sarcastic? 1st base makes very few throws…

    Comment by sun king — February 15, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  20. Freeman does not get a lot of help from Uggla

    Comment by Brett — February 16, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

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