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Dodgers notes: Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Kiké Hernández

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Texas Rangers Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

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.”


“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.”