Freddie Freeman and fantasy don't always go together. Many believe that a first baseman should hit more home runs. Even more criticize the team that he's on saying he won't score or drive in any runs. My friends, those people are the ones that can't spot a bargain when its right in front of their faces.
So first of all let's take a look at the contextual factors surrounded Freeman that he can't control at all. While Turner Field seems like a place that that pitchers thrive it was actually exactly league average for left handed home runs according to fangraphs.
Then you take a look at the surrounding lineup he should have around him in 2016. Rotochamp thinks it'll look something like this:
1) Ender Inciarte
2) Eric Aybar
3) Nick Markakis
4) Freddie Freeman
5) Adonis Garcia
6) Jace Peterson
7) Michael Bourn
8) Tyler Flowers
- AJ Pierzynski
- Nick Swisher
- Hector Olivera
- Gordon Beckham
- Mallex Smith
Now this is not the Blue Jays 2015 lineup, but Ender is an absolute contact machine, Nick Markakis is very good at getting on base, and someone from the stacked Braves farm system is making it up and helping this team this year. Lastly, this team will not strike out frequently, so even if they fail to hit well, they will do a better job of advancing runners than a team that replaces outs made in the field with strikeouts. Freeman being the best hitter on the team should be in a position to have his fair share of RBI opportunities.
So while outside factors are not a dream come true, they are much better than most people are making them out to be. So now, we will attack the standard 5 categories and how Freeman is expected to perform.
Freeman is projected to score the 8th most runs (77) by a first baseman, which is the same projected total as Edwin Encarnacion, and more than Eric Hosmer (75), Adrian Gonzalez (74), and Albert Pujols (72). As said before, the Braves, while not good, they definitely can put the ball in play, and when Freeman is putting up yet another .370+ on base percentage, he'll be more than capable of scoring runs. No matter how bad you think the Braves are, and they will be bad, someone is going to out perform expectations and drive Freeman in (Mallex Smith, Erick Aybar, or Hector Olivera).
This is the problem with Freeman. Everyone expects to get homers from their first baseman, and Freeman hasn't done that yet. But people aren't acknowledging that he isn't the power black hole that many people accuse him of being. If he plays his standard 147+ games that he had done every season prior to 2015, he should go back to being the 20-25 homer guy he's always been.
As a final note on his power, people unfairly label Freeman as a punchless hitter, his career hard hit rate is 37.3, which by comparison would make him the 16th highest in baseball tied with Joc Pederson's 2015 season. For perspective, Josh Donaldson was 18th last season with a 37.1% hard hit rate. If you wanted to go by home run and fly ball distance, he had the 37th furthest distance, 297.95 FT. He did manage to launch a 451ft bomb off Archie Bradley.
Freeman has the 11th highest projected RBI total according to Steamer. It's a number that doesn't wow you, but it shows that guys being advanced constantly helps you, and being an ironman will only make those RBI pile up over the course of a full season.
You don't draft your first baseman for steals, but Freeman is projected 4, which is 9th.
Freeman has a .283 projected line which is good for 7th best in baseball. He hits line drives like his life depends on it, in fact, if you look at the last 3 years averaged, he's the #1 line drive hitter in baseball (28.6%). Freeman is a lock for at least a solid average, and I would not be surprised at all if he ends up being over .300 this season.
So Freeman doesn't have one stand alone tool that keeps him alive, but if you were keeping track, he's contributing in everything. While I'm writing this on 1/29/16, Fake teams is doing a mock draft. In a 15 team 5x5 standard league, I have Freeman as the 8th first baseman, and the #24 overall player. So according to those projected values, he should have been taken in the second round, he lasted until the 56th pick, bargain alert. So you can get Freeman as a supplementary piece, when he has cornerstone potential. I always hunt value picks in drafts, and Freeman is looking to be a great bargain in 2016.