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Freddie Freeman: Overrated fantasy first baseman

Ray profiles Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and thinks Freeman is an overrated fantasy first baseman.


I don't want to get the Braves fans out there upset, but I have been down on Freddie Freeman, for fantasy purposes, for awhile now. I ranked Freeman as my 8th ranked fantasy first baseman in our Consensus Fantasy First Baseman Rankings yesterday.

Any time you rank players at any one position, there are always guys you really like, and others your are down on. In addition, if you ranked the same players the very next day, I am sure you could come up with reasons to rank them differently the second time. I am sure I would have ranked Freeman lower in my rankings if I ranked them a second time.

As it were, the Fake Teams consensus first base rankings ranked him at #8 for the rest of the season. He very well could end up there at the end of the season too. But, I am thinking he will not, and here are my reasons.

One, he has all of 9 home runs through 81 games this season, which puts him on pace to hit 15 home runs. He has driven in 61 runs, a very high RBI total, but that could easily drop in the second half of the season. Why? Because, he is hitting .308 thus far, thanks to a lofty .373 batting average of balls in play. Freeman hasn't hit over .300 at any level since 2009 when he hit .302 in High A. I see regression in his batting average and RBI total in the second half.

Two, historically he has been a better hitter in the first half than the second half in his career. Take a look at this table, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:

1st Half 241 903 135 255 55 33 153 90 222 .282 .352 .460 .811
2nd Half 164 544 75 146 30 21 79 64 127 .268 .347 .443 .790
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/17/2013.

As you can see, he has a career .268-.347-.443 triple slash line in his career, and has hit only 21 of his 54 career home runs in the second half.

Third, Freeman is not the power hitter you come to expect from your fantasy first baseman. He has 54 home runs in 1.447 career at bats. That's a home run every 27 at bats. That's not good.

Fourth, the .373 BABIP mentioned previously. That won't continue. He owns a career BABIP of .328, which is pretty good, but even knowing that, too many of those balls in play are not flying out of the ball park. Freeman is a big guy, standing 6'5" and weighing 225 pounds per FanGraphs. Guys that big should be hitting more bombs.

His .308 batting average ranks fifth among all qualified fantasy first baseman so far in 2013, but he won't end up hitting over .300. His nine home runs ranks him tied for 23rd amongst all qualified first baseman. I mean James Loney has nine home runs this season. So does Eric Hosmer, and Brandon Belt has ten home runs. Go figure that one out.

His 61 RBI ranks him sixth amongst his fantasy positional brethren. Pretty good. But consider he is hitting .423-.526-.577 with runners in scoring position this season, and anyone can figure some regression will occur in the second half. And to top it off, of his 33 hits in 78 at bats with RISP, only ONE has left the ball park. One.

So, yeah, I think Freeman is a bit overrated as a fantasy first baseman, mainly due to the fact that he doesn't hit for enough power, and he is due for some regression in the second half. Allen Craig and Joey Votto don't hit for a lot of power either, but I think both are much better hitters, and have more power, than Freeman.

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