While 2018 was a shockingly pleasant season for a lot of the Braves on the roster, it was just another season of excellence for Freddie Freeman. The face of the Braves franchise has basically carried the team during these recent lean years and he was expected to do the same thing heading into this past season.
You could easily make the argument that the happiest man in the franchise to see the rest of the team come to life offensively was Freeman, himself. Again, he’s been carrying the load almost by himself for years no, so you can imagine that he was probably thrilled to see people other than him actually producing at the plate on a regular basis. The onus was no longer on Freeman to bring the lion’s share of offensive production.
Still, he proved that he was up to the task of doing so and he brought another year of great offense and steady defense at first base. He’s “the man” around here and that did not change in 2018.
Bottom line, what did he do in 2018? Freddie Freeman continued to be Freddie Freeman. His wRC+ was slightly lower than last year but at the same time, I don’t think anybody in their right mind is going to complain about 150 wRC+ falling to 137 wRC+ the next season. It would be like complaining about the bacon surrounding a filet mignon not being as tasty as you remembered from the first time — you’re still dealing with a filet mignon.
Most of his other stats were basically in line with what you would expect from him. At this point, you can basically pencil Freddie in for a slash line that’s around or even above .300/.400/.500. He actually slowed down a bit in terms of power, though. His Isolated Power dipped below .200 for the first time since the 2015 season and he “only” hit 23 dingers.
If you had told us before the season that Ozzie Albies would have finished the season with more homers than Freddie did, I would have broke down in tears and called 2018 an especially lost season. Instead, this was a season where Freddie’s slight dip in power didn’t cause the entire ship to sink since there were other players in the lineup who picked up the slack in a major way.
With that being said, Freddie still came through at points when the team needed him the most. Remember when the Braves were in the midst of that embarrassing six-run collapse against the eventual World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and desperately needed a dinger to change things? Freddie was there to deliver the boom when they needed it.
There will be an another example of this later on, but the point is that Freddie Freeman really and truly is the cornerstone of this franchise and he put yet another great season under his belt in 2018.
Will Freeman be on the roster next year? Does a bear defecate in the woods?
What is he going to do next year? If Atlanta’s offense continues to play at the level it did last season, then Freddie Freeman will once again be the happiest guy in the franchise as he will have guys helping him contribute at the plate instead of being basically the only guy doing some serious hitting. The only thing that can put a stop to Freddie is injury and it didn’t stop him last season as he played all 162 games and the four playoff games as well.
We all know what Freddie Freeman is capable of doing, so it wouldn’t be a shock at all to see him continue to be the bedrock of the lineup for the Braves in 2019 and beyond.
Highlight of 2018: In another moment where Freeman stepped up when the team needed him at a crucial time, Freddie Freeman’s bomb in Game 3 of the World Series gave the Braves the lead when it seemed like another collapse was on the way. The Braves went on to win that game and his dinger was jolt of energy that was desperately needed at that point.
Lowlight of 2018: It would be hard to find a particularly bad moment, but there was this scary moment all the way back in April when Freddie got hit in the wrist at nearly exactly the same spot that caused him to miss a chunk of the 2017 season. Fortunately, he didn’t miss any time but good grief, this was a scary moment.