Statistics don’t always illustrate a complete portrait of one’s ability to perform well, and that is certainly the case pertaining to Freddie Freeman’s defense at first base. On the surface, Freeman is a well-rounded defender, demonstrating his knack for scooping low throws to the bag, while the analytics tell a different story.
It may seem odd to think of a former Gold Glove award winner and a player that has committed zero errors on the season as a subpar defender. When diving into the analytics, Freeman has a negative DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) at -4, down a full two netted runs from the previous season and hasn’t posted a positive mark since his days with the Atlanta Braves. After posting 6 OAA (Outs Above Average) from the beginning of the 2020 season to the end of last season, Freeman has netted just -1 OAA and has ranked within just the 10th percentile for arm strength according to Baseball Savant.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times breaks down the analytics behind Freeman’s 2023 season defensively, while also highlighting key instances where Freeman’s defense mirrored his subpar analytical output:
“Though Freeman’s 2.3 ultimate zone rating, which attempts to quantify how many runs a player saves or gives up through his fielding prowess, ranked second behind [Christian] Walker’s, Freeman ranked 12th with minus-one outs above average and 13th with a -6.8 overall defensive rating, which measures fielding runs saved relative to other positions.”
- Mookie Betts will be making his first return to Fenway Park for the first time in his career since being acquired by the Dodgers, as the team travels to Boston in late August (the series opener is on Apple TV+). While Betts’ tenure with the Dodgers has been spectacular since his first game with the team, he initially wanted to remain on the Red Sox for the long haul. Betts sat down with Todd Frazier and Scott Braun to discuss the move to L.A. in an episode of the Foul Territory podcast, calling the trade a “blessing in disguise.”
- Tim Britton, Andy McCullough, and Stephen J. Nesbitt of The Athletic break down the Dodgers’ recent deal, reuniting with veteran utility man Kiké Hernández from the Red Sox, and hand out grades for both teams.
- Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes on the Dodgers’ ever-increasing need for starting pitching and how Andrew Friedman feels about the chances of the team pursuing a top-end starter for the rotation:
“The only thing I know is our mindset is to be aggressive and try to add. So with that, I would be surprised (if the Dodgers did not acquire a starting pitcher),” Friedman said. “But there’s still a lot to be defined in these next seven, eight days that will get at answering that question in a more thoughtful way.”
- Dave Roberts has confirmed that Clayton Kershaw had a successful bullpen session prior to yesterday’s chaotic win against the Toronto Blue Jays, with the next step including facing live hitters.
Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen today - warmup and two up-downs. Dave Roberts said he threw his full mix and the next step in his rehab is he will throw to hitters.— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) July 25, 2023