Freddie Freeman: Why Atlanta Braves Rookie First Baseman Will Be Just Fine

Will BrownContributor IApril 22, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves during their opening day game against the Philadephia Phillies at Turner Field on April 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

For those of you that have ESPN Insider, it is likely that you may have seen Eric Karabell's article yesterday going over some early performances among the league's rookies.

He states in the article that while the Atlanta Braves are "very committed" to Freeman, he had some worries about how well he has hit so far this year.

Certainly if you look at his total numbers, I can understand where he was coming from, but how about we look at the last seven games?

Freeman is hitting .353 over that period and has hit three homers. He's also knocked in five of his seven runs he has all season, while also drawing six walks. After a terrible start that saw him rolling over fastball after fastball on the outside corner, he is starting to get some better pitches to hit and is staying in on the ball more.

The biggest reason he is seeing better pitches is because Fredi Gonzalez moved him up a few spots out of the eighth hole, where he was seeing a ton of tough pitches due to having the pitcher's spot coming up behind him. 

Almost every blog I've read had people that were commenting saying how we needed to send Freeman back to Triple-A because he wasn't hitting. It's not like defense is important, right?

While it doesn't show up statistically, Freeman has been great at picking balls out of the dirt, stretching to make the close plays outs, and making just about every play hit at him. His large frame, 6'5" and 225 pounds, makes him a great target for our defenders to throw too and his mobility around the bag has really improved our overall infield defense.

And now that he is starting to turn it around offensively, Freeman is looking more and more like the player we all envisioned. He has shown pop that I thought he was capable of, though no one really expected. 

Basically all I'm saying is that people just need to take a deep breath, it is only April.

I've seen many people also complain about the trade of Omar Infante for Dan Uggla, and I just sit there and shake my head. People look at small samples a great deal too much, so when someone struggles early they are ready to place blame on the front office or ask to get rid of the player. People need to realize that when we left April last year, we stood at 9-14.

We eventually won 91 games and led the division for a great deal of the season.

So even if Freeman goes back to struggling or Uggla continues to swing and miss (which he is going to do either way), remember that we are very early in the season.

With the good pitching we have, when the offense puts it together you will see this team take off.

Just give them time.