Freddie Freeman (ATL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
Atlanta Braves‘ first baseman Freddie Freeman is an elite offensive weapon by any metric, but the reigning NL MVP has performed below expectations so far this season. Freeman’s WAR is 0.9 through 63 games, shabby when compared to his 3.3 WAR in last year’s 60 game season. Freeman’s .242 batting average is also the lowest it has been since his rookie year in 2010. Freeman’s average launch angle this year is 13.7 degrees, the lowest of his career. This type of contact leads to more ground balls and fewer line drives, therefore producing fewer base hits.
Freeman’s line drive rate this year is 24.9%, the lowest of his career and eight points lower than his career average. Freeman’s fly ball rate is 31.2%, the second-worst mark of his career. Unsurprisingly, Freeman’s 40.2% ground ball rate also marks a career-worst. Despite all of this, I believe Freeman is too talented to not figure this out, perhaps he already has.
Freeman had a strong performance last night, going 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB. He has quietly been putting together an impressive month of June, and has really come on over the last week or so. In the last seven days, Freeman is batting .385 with three home runs and seven RBI. He is currently on a four-game hitting streak and has a hit in eight of his last ten games. Although it has been a rough start to the season, Freeman seems to be bouncing back as we head into the dog days of summer.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday:
Chas McCormick (HOU): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Houston’s 2017 first-round pick went deep twice in the Astros win last night. McCormick is heating up while filling in for the ill Kyle Tucker. The 26-year-old has posted a stat line of 6-13, 3 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI over his last three games. I would not recommend McCormick as an add yet, but he could be someone to keep an eye on in the future. His playing time should dip when Kyle Tucker returns from injury, but McCormick has a lot of speed and if he continues to show improvement at the plate he can work himself into fantasy relevancy.
Christian Arroyo (BOS): 1-1, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Down one with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Red Sox sent Christian Arroyo up to pinch-hit for Danny Santana. After falling behind in the count 1-2, Arroyo sent a 467-foot missile into the left field seats to clear the bases and give the Red Sox a 10-7 lead. Arroyo is not an everyday player, but his late-game two-strike two-out grand slam that helped propel Boston to a win over Atlanta earned him his spot in the column.
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
The young first baseman has been an offensive leader for the Orioles this season. He is tied for second on the team with nine home runs, and also ranks second on the team in RBI, with 36. With two RBI singles and a two-run home run, last night was Mountcastle’s best game of the season. However, if the 24-year-old wants to stick around in this league he will need to improve upon his K/BB ratio. Mountcastle has earned just 11 walks to 30 strikeouts, with a walk rate of just 3.4% and a strikeout rate of 31.1%.
Brandon Belt (SF): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Belt tripled for the second consecutive game last night and added the home run that would have given him the cycle on Tuesday. The Giants third baseman has been on a tear this series. In three games facing Arizona, Belt has posted a stat line of 7-14, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 3 BB. Available in most leagues, look to add Belt if you need a boost at first base or in the outfield in deeper leagues.
Buster Posey (SF): 3-4, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.
The late-career renaissance of Buster Posey is in full swing and it is beautiful. The Giants catcher strung together yet another three-hit game last night, his eighth of the season. Posey’s big blow last night came in the first inning, a screaming line drive that sailed over the left-field wall for a three-run shot. Despite splitting time with Curt Casali behind the plate, Posey has proven to be one of the best value picks so far this season.
Dansby Swanson (ATL): 2-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Braves’ talented young shortstop showed his versatility last night with both a home run and a triple in Atlanta’s loss to Boston. Swanson has struggled to put it all together so far. He is middling in both power and contact numbers and ranks in the bottom fifth of the league in both K% and BB%. One day Swanson will be a great shortstop, but I would be more comfortable leaving him on my bench in fantasy for now.
Trevor Story (COL): 2-3, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB.
Although this season has been disappointing by his standards, Story remains one of the biggest names on the trade market. Last night showed why he would be so valuable to any offense. He doubled twice in the performance, walked twice, stole two bases, drove in two runs, and scored three times. As baseball increasingly trends towards a three-outcome game, Story provides power while proving the impact of the other aspects of offense.
Fernando Tatís Jr. (SD): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Another day, another highlight for the most entertaining man in baseball. In the third inning, Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland hung Tatís a slider that was absolutely punished. The ball left Tatís’ bat at 113.1 mph and traveled 477 feet into the left-center seats. Tatís continues to tear it up at the plate, he now has four home runs in his last five games and is up to 21 long balls on the year.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)