What to do, what to do?
That is the question the Atlanta Braves’ front office has been facing with Matt Adams deciding to become arguably the hottest bat in all of Major League Baseball.
Do we keep him at first? Nope, Freddie’s return is on the horizon and he still needs to play first. Okay, well do we stick Adams in left? Awesome idea, but that means we would have four outfielders and one of Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte, or Nick Markakis would have to become the odd man out. This is quite a problem the Braves have, albeit it a good problem.
Insert Freddie Freeman who walks in and says he’s more than willing to move over to 3rd to accommodate Adams.
So now with Freeman willing to play the hot corner, another multitude of questions have reason. Will his body be able to make the everyday routine plays? Does he even have the range to play 3rd? Who will teach him how to play over there? Better yet, has he even played third in his professional baseball career?
Everybody has questions, but I have five reasons why Freddie will be able to succeed at third base.
Reason #1: He is extremely motivated to make the move
In his recent interview with the press, he said he will “push the envelope” and try to target his return for the Nationals series, which is a couple of days before the All-Star break. That will really be pushing it because it would put Freeman almost a complete month ahead of schedule for his return, as it was initially thought he would return in late July or early August. But knowing Freeman, it should not surprise anyone if he returns well before expected.
Reason #2: He has experience at the hot corner
Freddie was primarily a third baseman in high school and even played five games in the GCL league as a 17-year old rookie. Not many people believe he’s ever had 3rd base experience, although it was in high school and when he was first breaking into the pro ranks. He even said he came to management a couple years ago with the same idea, but was shot down.
Reason #3: He has the arm strength
Freddie by all means has the arm talent. If you have never witnessed Freeman throw a baseball you are really missing out because the man can flat out sling it. When there is ball hit to him and he has to fire it somewhere, it looks like a seed on release. The only question will be whether he has the accuracy to fire it all the way from across the diamond, but with the help of coach Ron Washington (more on him later), do not expect it to be that big of a problem.
Reason #4: He will get to focus on his agility and mobility
Freeman will be able to focus on developing more agility and mobility, which in turn will help him improve his overall range. With his wrist injury, one would be right in thinking Freeman would be a bit limited in his upper body workouts. With that in mind, he will be able to focus on increasing his range which is imperative over at the hot corner. I’m not saying he needs to be Brooks Robinson or Nolan Arenado over there, but I am saying he needs to work on his range, mobility, and agility to become a serviceable third baseman.
Reason #5: Ron Washington is on the staff
Last but certainly not least, is the Braves have Ron Washington on staff. If you don’t know much about Washington, just know that he is considered one of the greatest infield coaches ever. He harps on the fundamentals of defensive baseball day in and day out, and that will greatly help Freeman has he transitions. Not many fans are taking Washington into account during this transition, but he could very well be the X-factor in Freeman’s transition. Hey, if Ron Washington’s coaching doesn’t work, just get Terry Pendleton, who also was a terrific third baseman that accumulated 3 Gold Gloves in his playing career.
A lot of people thought Freddie was joking a couple of weeks ago when he said he thought it’d be a good idea to try and transition to 3rd. Now we know Freeman is dead serious about the position change. If he successfully makes the transition across the diamond this will be bigger than Chipper Jones moving to left in the early 2000s, but the real thrill will be seeing how this lineup fares with both Adams and Freeman in the middle of it.