Braves New Golden Boy

Freeman has emerged as a star

Freeman has emerged as a star

We continue analyzing the Atlanta Braves batting order with thoughts on the number three slot.  Chipper Jones was the Braves number three hitter for many years.  Jones was a prototypical number three, he could hit to all fields with power, had a high-on-base percentage, and above average speed.  He also was good at knocking in a runner from third with less than two outs.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has not only inherited Jones’ number three spot in the batting order, he has also received Chipper Jones type money, recently agreeing with the Braves on an eight-year, $135 million deal.  Freeman’s money is more than Jones money, but baseball inflation makes it a similar deal.

While I have differing opinions than Fredi Gonzalez on how the batting order should be structured, you have to be off your rocker to argue with Freddie Freeman hitting third.  Freeman has become the fulcrum of the Braves batting order.

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What I like about Freeman hitting third, he’s the only Braves player that you feel good about hitting against any pitcher in the league.  He also consistently came through last season in the clutch, hitting .411 with two outs and runners in scoring position and .402 in the late and close game stats.

The only thing I don’t like about Freeman’s game, he doesn’t have the speed you like having in the number three slot. But surprisingly, he hit into only 10 double plays last season, two less than the speedier Justin Upton and only three more than Jason Heyward, who only played in 104 games  last year.  So while Freeman is not going to burn up the base paths with his speed, he doesn’t take you out of innings, either.

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A couple of years ago I thought Heyward would be the odds on favorite to inherit Jones’ number three slot in the batting order.  But Freeman has obviously become the more dynamic and consistent hitter at this stage in their careers.

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dan harvey
dan harvey

Last year I was all for FF hitting third. This year is pretty much the same. FG did bat FF fourth quite a bit last year. If Simmons takes the second spot hitting as I believe he will as the season gets going that leaves Chris Johnson as a possible #3 hitter and then FF hitting cleanup. Then 5,6, and 7 would be LF, RF, C. If either Uggla or BJ plays plays I say bat the pitcher 8, or 7 if they are both in the lineup.

dan harvey
dan harvey
I am guessing that Schafer will really come into his own this year. If so he will be a prototypical leadoff hitter. Simmons was a batting champ in the minors (I think) and I think that will surface at some point in the majors. If it is this year then you could have 300 caliber hitters 1 thru 4 with CF, SS, 3B, 1B, and the top two guys both have speed, especially Schafer. Of course a lot of variables are in that thinking. Heyward hitting leadoff looked really comfortable last year, so that is a great option as well.… Read more »
Everlasting Earle
Everlasting Earle
I have to say, I’m a pretty big Fredi G hater. I think the 2011 debacle was as bad as it gets aaaaand he destroyed some great bullpen arms in the process. In fact, the only thing that really worries me about the Kimbrel contract is that he’s the only surviving member of the 2011 O’ventbrel project. I’ll never get over him leaving Vizcaino out there, obviously with nothing to work with, while the lead evaporated and him shrugging it off after the game as if the division was in the bag and he was just using the game as… Read more »
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