Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a two-run home run in Thursday afternoon’s 9-6 victory over the Padres. At the time, his dinger broke a scoreless tie.
Freeman now has 28 home runs, extending a career-high. He only has 68 RBI, but that’s more a function of how mediocre the hitters in front of him have been. He’s also sporting an outstanding .289/.389/.553 triple-slash line. The batting average and slugging percentage would easily mark new career bests if the season were to end today.
No one’s really talking about how good of a season Freeman is having as far as I can tell. Granted, Kris Bryant and Corey Seager are having much better seasons and the NL MVP race will probably come down to them. Further, Freeman plays first base, where he has a lot of competition. Among first basemen, Joey Votto and Anthony Rizzo have hit slightly better, but everyone outside of Cincinnati appreciates how good Votto is and Rizzo has gotten tons of attention playing on the 85-47 Cubs, who have already wrapped up a postseason spot if you go by Baseball Prospectus. And Freeman plays on the 51-83 Braves, who are tanking in their final year at Turner Field.
But by WAR, Freeman is the sixth-most valuable player in the National League, tied — if you round to tenths — with Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado at 4.6 according to FanGraphs. (Arenado has a slight lead once you round out to hundredths.) By wRC+, an all-encompassing offensive Sabermetric stat that sets 100 at average, Freeman’s 146 is sixth-best in the NL behind Bryant (162), Daniel Murphy (155), Votto (150), Yoenis Cespedes (150), and Rizzo (147). Freeman is one of seven players this season with an adjusted OPS (or OPS+) — like wRC+ but with OPS instead of weighting individual offensive components — at 150 or above.
I’m not saying Freeman should win the NL MVP or anything, but I do feel like his season has really flown under the radar. He’s been a top-ten player in the league and a top-three player at his position.