While analyzing Freddie Freeman this past offseason, I figured that he’d hold his own in his rookie year, but I held my expectations back a bit with regards to his fantasy value. Part of that was due to the depth at first base and another part of that was the lack of top-end power that Freeman had displayed in the minors. To have a lot of mixed league value at first base, you have to hit for power. Freeman has only nine home runs on the season, but as he is getting more and more comfortable at the big-league level, his power game has started to progress.
Freeman only hit .217/.314/.380 in April with three homers. That performance out of the gates landed him on a ton of free agent lists–he’s only 28-percent owned in Yahoo leagues now. However, he went on to hit .312/.371/.430 in May and is hitting .277/.318/.470 so far in June. Every month this season, Freeman has raised his SLG and he looks like he’s being more aggressive at the plate in terms of trying to hit the long ball when he sees a mistake pitch. That aggressiveness gets him in trouble sometimes (34-percent chase rate), but when he makes contact, he tends to hit the ball hard frequently–his line-drive rate since May 1st has held around 24-percent.
While Freeman was in the minor leagues, there was a debate of whether or not he would develop more power as he aged. He’s only 21 and he’s a mountain of a man (6’5″ 220), so it seems like the potential for 30-plus home run seasons is sort of “built in”. Freeman’s swing is generating plenty of line drives, but his fly-ball rate is a bit low for a slugger (34-percent overall). However, that fly-ball rate has risen to about 39-percent this month and could very well continue to trend in that direction going forward.
While his AVG is likely to fluctuate due to below average plate discipline, Freeman has the upside to help teams in need of a power boost. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit 15-plus home runs the rest of the way.