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Sunday, April 24, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: FREDDIE FREEMAN

Well we warned you didn't we?  For the last two seasons-plus, we have strongly and in many different forms, tried to convince you all to completely ignore Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.  While Freeman showed some very appealing power and overall hitting upside going back to 2012 and 2013, a drastic strip down of the franchise prior to the 2015 season left the first baseman with ZERO protection in the lineup.  As a result, there as never any reason  for opposing pitchers to give Freeman anything to hit or to drive and his offensive numbers tumbled terribly both in 2014 and 2015.  In addition to not getting anything to drive, Freeman also had no one to drive in or to have anyone drive him in which hurt his runs and RBI totals.  Things went downright disastrous last season as Freeman hit just 18 home runs, scored only 62 runs, collected 68 RBI, and batted .276.  Numbers that didn't even really qualify Freeman as a fantasy baseball-worthy first baseman and instead more like a UTIL or CI guy.  Well 2016 has been even WORSE and actually by a sizable margin as Freeman went into Saturday's games with a truly horrific .167 average with a single home run in 66 at-bats.  With a lineup surrounding him that is somehow even worse then 2015, Freeman is getting pitched around and he also is hurting himself by trying to force his swing to generate offense for his team.  As a result, Freeman's K Rate has ballooned to a ridiculously high 27.3 mark as he chases pitches all over and outsize the strike zone.  Freeman also has walked in a very impressive 15.2 percent of his at-bats but that just goes to show you how opposing pitchers continue to be careful giving him anything to hit with no one else around him in the order capable of doing damage.  Now Freeman's struggles have been assisted by a staggeringly unlucky .229 BABIP but again he also is beating himself as well with some ugly hacks.  The bottom line is that Freeman will be lucky to even reach the upper teens in home runs at this rate and you can forget anything more than 75 in both the runs and RBI column.  Throw in what is looking like a career-worst average this season and Freeman's owners are clearly in a pickle with him this season.

 

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