I’ve long said that batting average is a terrible metric to evaluate success at the plate. Personally, OPS garners the first glance because I’m way more concerned with extra-base hits and getting on base. I’d rather have a guy that hits .220 with a .800 OPS than a guy who will single you to death and never walk. Freddie Freeman’s comically low BABIP has been well documented, as .237 is incredibly unlucky.
His walk and strikeout rates are around the norm as the latter is lower than in his MVP season figure, and his .815 OPS indicates that he is making an impact when he is finding green grass. His .237 batting average just isn’t indicative of his performance in 2021. Sure, Freeman hasn’t played to the MVP level he did in 2020, but he has by no means been a terrible player. Freeman is currently:
- Tied for 2nd in fWAR
- On pace for ~ 39 home runs, a career-high
- 50.5% hard-hit ball percentage, second highest of his career
- 12% barrel percentage
- 92 MPH average exit velocity, second highest of his career
- .306 expected batting average
- .587 expected slugging percentage, second highest of his career
- .414 expected weighted on-base average, second highest of his career
It’s easy to play the “unlucky” card in baseball, but in Freeman’s case, it’s true. Freddie has still been hitting the ball hard, and if he does start to find green grass, this Braves offense should improve greatly. Over his past seven games, Freeman is slugging .500, indicating he is starting to heat up a bit. His eight hits — two of them being home runs — over his last 30 at-bats are much closer to the player he is — a .300 hitter. I’m not worried about Freeman, but hopefully, the monkey gets off his back sooner rather than later for a Braves team struggling to score runs consistently.
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