Freeman with the Atlanta Braves
|Atlanta Braves - No. 5|
|Born: September 12, 1989|
Fountain Valley, California
|September 1, 2010, for the Atlanta Braves|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 22, 2018)
|Runs batted in||681|
|Career highlights and awards|
Frederick Charles Freeman (born September 12, 1989) is a Canadian-American professional baseball first baseman for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has been with the Braves organization since he was drafted by them out of high school in 2007. He made his MLB debut in 2010 and is a three-time MLB All-Star.
Freeman's parents are Ontario natives. His mother was from Peterborough, while his father is from Windsor. Because Freeman's parents were both born in Canada, Freeman himself holds Canadian citizenship in addition to American citizenship. He grew up a fan of the Los Angeles Angels. Freeman attended El Modena High School in Orange, California where he was a third baseman and a pitcher. As a senior in 2007, Freeman hit for a .417 batting average and had a 6-1 win-loss record as a pitcher. The Orange County Register named him its 2007 player of the year. He signed a letter of intent with Cal State Fullerton.
The Atlanta Braves selected Freeman in the second round, with the 78th overall selection, of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft. Freeman signed with the team for $409,500, foregoing his college scholarship. He was the Braves' fifth-best prospect heading into the 2009 season, according to Baseball America, and the 11th-best prospect overall in their mid-season top 25.
Freeman was called up to the Braves on September 1, 2010, as part of the team's September call-ups, and made his major league debut that same day. On September 5, 2010, he got his first career hit off of Florida Marlins pitcher Clay Hensley, and on September 21, 2010, he hit his first home run off of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. He played 20 games with the Braves and batted .167. Freeman was not a part of the Braves' playoff roster.
Freeman began the 2011 season as the starting first baseman for the Braves. After a slow start, his performance improved and he had been mentioned as a strong candidate for rookie of the year. On July 4, 2011, Freeman hit two home runs against the Colorado Rockies, for his first multi-home run game. Freeman was the first Braves rookie to reach 50 RBIs by July 18 since Hank Aaron accomplished this feat in 1954. He was the named NL rookie of the month for July; during that month, Freeman led all Major League rookies with 38 hits, a .362 batting average, and a.433 on-base percentage in July 27 games. He also led all NL rookies with six homers and 17 runs. His 18 RBIs tied for the most in the NL among rookies.
In August, Freeman and Dan Uggla became the first members of the Braves to have concurrent twenty game hitting streaks in the modern era. Freeman's streak ended at 20 games on August 7. Freeman finished the 2011 year batting .282 with 32 doubles, 21 home runs, and 76 RBI in 157 games played.
Freeman finished second to teammate Craig Kimbrel in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. Kimbrel and Freeman were the first teammates to finish first and second since 1989, when the Chicago Cubs' Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith came in first and second. The only other time two Braves finished in the top five, the organization was still located in Milwaukee--Gene Conley was voted third-best rookie of the 1954 season; Hank Aaron came in fourth.
In 2012, Freeman had an NL-leading nine sacrifice flies along with batting .259 with 33 doubles, 23 home runs, and 94 RBI in 147 games played.
In 2013, Freeman was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Final Vote, where he won with a record-setting total of 19.7 million fan votes, but was unable to play because of a thumb injury suffered three days prior to the game. Freeman finished the 2013 season with a .319 batting average, along with 23 homers and 109 RBI in 147 games played. He finished 5th on the National League Most Valuable Player award voting.
On February 4, 2014, Freeman agreed to an eight-year, $135 million extension. Freeman was named an All-Star for the second time in 2014, and played the last three innings of the game. He led the team in batting average and on base plus slugging percentage in 2014. Freeman also set a franchise record for innings played. During a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 27, 2014, Freeman hit a three-run homer off of Kyle Kendrick to left center field that was caught by broadcaster Tom McCarthy. Freeman finished the 2014 year by appearing in all 162 games batting .288 with 90 walks, 43 doubles, 18 home runs, and 78 RBI.
On June 17, 2015, Freeman was listed as day-to-day with an injury to his right wrist originally sustained during a June 13 game against the New York Mets. He missed the June 18 game against the Boston Red Sox, ending a streak of 234 consecutive games played, which led the majors at the time. Freeman was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 23, and received a platelet-rich plasma injection soon afterward. He was eligible for activation on July 3, but did not return to action until July 28, three days after he was removed from the disabled list. For the season, Freeman hit for a .276 batting average with 18 home runs and 66 RBIs in 118 games, his shortest season since 2011.
John Coppolella had assumed responsibility for the team's transactions since the 2014-15 off-season, and played a large role in the Braves' rebuild, having traded away many players. However, during the 2015-16 off-season, Coppolella repeatedly stated that he would not trade Freeman. At the beginning of the 2016 season, Freeman was expected to lead the team on the field, despite the wrist injury last year adversely affecting his off-season preparations. Freeman had a difficult start to the season, but began hitting well in June. On June 15, Freeman hit his first career cycle in a 9-8 victory against the Cincinnati Reds. He was named National League Player of the Week soon after that performance. Freeman recorded his first thirty home run season in 2016, on September 13, shortly after claiming his second Player of the Week award in the 2016 season. That day he also drove in the 500th run of his career. On September 29, Freeman's 30-game hitting streak, which had begun on August 24, was halted with an 0-4 night against the Philadelphia Phillies. It had been a part of a larger 46-game run of getting on base, which also ended. During the penultimate week of the regular season, Freeman again was recognized as Player of the Week, and named the September National League Player of the Month at the end of the year. Overall in 2016, Freeman played 158 games with a .302 batting average, 43 doubles, 34 home runs, and 91 RBI.
Freeman represented Canada at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, something he had always wanted to do. He was the starting first baseman on Opening Day against the New York Mets, going 3-4, including a triple. In the first game at SunTrust Park, Freeman doubled in a couple runs. He continued to tear up Padres pitching, hitting three homers in the series. On April 19 against the Washington Nationals, he set a franchise record for most consecutive plate appearances to get on base with a solo homer.
On May 17, Freeman was hit by a pitch from Aaron Loup of Toronto, resulting in him leaving the game. An MRI and CT scan later revealed a non-displaced wrist fracture in his left hand, ruling him out for up to 10 weeks. At the time, Freeman was an early candidate for the MVP award, leading the league in home runs with 14, and ranking second in both on-base and slugging percentage.
While rehabilitating his hand injury, Freeman stated in June 2017 that he offered to play third base upon his return, because his replacement at first base, Matt Adams, was hitting well. On July 1, Freeman appeared with the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves on a rehab assignment in which he played third base. Three days later, he returned to Atlanta, and started at third base against the Houston Astros. Freeman recorded his 1,000th career hit in a game against the Washington Nationals on July 6. Braves manager Brian Snitker stated in August that Freeman would no longer play third base regularly, as injuries to other players necessitated late-season promotions and allowed Freeman to return to first base.
Freeman finished the season batting .307 with 28 home runs and 71 RBIs despite only playing in 117 games, his lowest total since 2010. He led the Braves in home runs, batting, and was second in RBIs.
Freeman underwent LASIK surgery in October 2017, to correct vision problems that had manifested since 2012. He was selected to his third All Star game as the National League's starting first baseman. He also accepted an invitation to participate in the 2018 Home Run Derby. Freeman finished the regular season as the National League leader in base hits with 191. Only Whit Merrifield had more in Major League Baseball. He also finished as the Braves ' team leader in batting average (.309), on base percentage (.388), slugging percentage (.505), doubles (44), walks (76), and RBIs (98). Freeman, along with Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs, won the 2018 Gold Glove for first base in the National League. Freeman's teammates Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis won the same award for center field and right field, respectively, marking the first time that three Atlanta Braves had won the honor in the same season. Additionally, Freeman received the 2018 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Freeman's powerful swing, in which he moves his shoulders slightly before lowering his hands, has been described as "unorthodox" and compared to a tennis forehand. His hand-eye coordination and ability to adjust to pitchers from one plate appearance to the next have also drawn praise.
Freeman is the son of Fredrick and Rosemary Freeman, both Canadian. Rosemary died of melanoma when Freeman was 10. Freeman has two older brothers, Andrew and Phillip, and is a sixth generation Salvationist. His cousin Carson Branstine is a tennis player.
Freeman married Chelsea Goff in 2014. Goff appeared in a season 7 episode of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. The couple's first child Frederick Charles "Charlie" II, was born in September 2016.
During a 2014 winter storm, Freeman was stuck in a traffic jam that had no plans of moving. Freeman stayed stuck for hours until former teammate Chipper Jones arrived on his ATV and rescued Freeman successfully. In January 2016, the Atlanta Braves announced a "Chipper Rescues Freddie" bobblehead night for the upcoming season. This was used as a promotional night for the franchise.