Appreciating Freddie Freeman's greatness

Jim McIsaac

At the age of 24, Freeman is already one of the best hitters in baseball.

Freddie Freeman is really good, yet an argument can be made that he's not only overlooked on a national level, but by Braves fans, too.

This isn't to say fans don't know how good Freeman is. But the numbers he's put up over the last few seasons are pretty remarkable.

Over the last calendar year – 162 games exactly – Freeman has hit .309/.391/.511 with 27 home runs, 100 RBI and a 151 wRC+. Looking at the FanGraphs leaderboard, Freeman's 151 wRC+ ties him for ninth place in all of baseball.

Mike Trout (182 wRC+) and Andrew McCutchen (180) are far and away the two best players in the game, but the difference between Freeman in ninth place and Freeman in third place is just six wRC+ points.

Basically, excluding the two best players in baseball, Freeman is a good game or two away from being the best hitter in either league over the past calendar year. And he did that when he was 23 and 24 years old.

If you expand it to the past two calendar years, when Freddie was 22, he ranks 11th in baseball with a 143 wRC+. His line since mid-2012 is .297/.384/.490. Since his rookie season in 2011, Freeman ranks 22nd in runs created.

Considering the defensive metrics think of Freeman as just OK defensively – he's at -3 in DRS this season but is +5 for his career – he's unlikely to ever put up gaudy WAR numbers. He is on pace for a 5.5-win season on FanGraphs, though, clearly moving him into star territory. That massive contract extension handed out by the Braves last offseason looks to be money very well spent.

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