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Dodgers: David Freese is The Unsung Hero of the Season

Signed in the off-season for $5 million, the postseason legend has made a sizable return on the investment.

The Dodgers signed right-handed corner infielder David Freese this off-season with the sole purpose being to have him hit left-handed pitching. He has done that and more this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

David Freese

Signed for only $5 million, Freese has certainly made significant returns on the investment already, and it is only mid-June.

With a .300/.417/.610 slash line on the season, Freese has quietly been the Dodgers’ unsung hero and quite possibly the Dodgers’ second best hitter behind Cody Bellinger on a per at-bat basis. His 171 wRC+ is actually the seventh best in Major League Baseball this season amongst hitters with over 120 plate appearances.

Crushing Righties

At 35 years old, Freese is only improving. What is absurd about his season so far is just how well he has hit right-handed pitching, which is not necessarily in this job description. Freese has a .356/.431/.733 slash line and 203 wRC+ (!) against righties. That wRC+ ranks second in all of baseball, sandwiched in between Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger respectively. He is right-handed. Crazy.

Against lefties, he has certainly done his part as well, posting a 147 wRC+ against that handedness of pitching. He is simply getting done in his part-time role.

Overall

Clint is right. Instead of giving Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor everyday at-bats, why not give them to David Freese. It is as easy as playing Max Muncy at second base and Freese at first, with one of the utility guys playing short with Corey Seager out.

He has upped his walk rate from 7.7% to 16.7%, which is tied for the fourth-best in the bigs. The big change in Freese’s profile comes from the high percentage of barrels he has hit, according to Baseball Savant. In 2018, Freese had a 9.0% barrel rate. This year: an insane 17.6%, which also ranks amongst the league leaders.

Freese may be aging, but it appears he is only getting better.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

6 Comments

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  1. It’s funny the other night in Anaheim when the Dodgers had the bases loaded I said they should have Freezer pinch hit for CT3 who’d been struggling, but they didn’t make the change and Taylor proceeded to (no surprise) strike out, on a pitch outside the zone no less. Next inning, Freese comes up and crushes a HR to dead center, sadly a solo shot. He should see more playing time, however not too sizeable a boost so as to keep him right come October. I do not want to see Muncy at 3rd anymore, he’s great offensively but on the opposite end he struggles and literally every game he spends at third you can expect at least one or two blunders or errors, plays where you think Turner, Kiké, or Freese would make no sweat. Muncy should play only 1B or 2B, give Kiké free range anywhere across the infield, use Taylor at SS or 3B, hope for the best from Matt, and above all LET’S GO DODGERS!!

  2. Hey Daniel……..Funny you guys finally noticed…..your article is long overdue…..this guy has been a god send this season……..I have been calling him the “quiet assassin” since no one ever mentions his clutch contributions to this years team…….and this guy was going to retire? You have got to be kidding me! They need to give him another contract to stick around for a couple more seasons. And Muncy needs to buy his post game meals every time he digs one of those lame throws out of the dirt!

  3. He’s Utley with the numbers. Great veteran, and now that the grueling offseason is actually working out, bringing him back stands out as a savvy move.

  4. I’ve told anybody that will listen to me that when we got Freese last season the guy would pay BIG dividends!!! I’m a Dodger loyalist for 55 years and I gotta say, Love me some David Freese!!!!

  5. What more can I add here but that hopefully Freese can get his knee issue resolved so he CAN play more often. He is giving this team, among all else, some RH sock definitely a plus on a LH heavy hitting team. I concur with bluz1st in that Dodgers should extend Freese at least through the 2020 season.
    Memo to Roberts:
    Put Freese in the 5th spot in the lineup to protect Bellinger, because I see that as a possible issue for Cody’s recent struggles…No real protection in the 5th spot behind him, so pitchers have been pitching around him, especially if they see CT 3 or Kike hitting in that all important 5th spot.

  6. I think at this stage of Freese career it is a fine-line between playing him so much that by the end of the season, he is worn out see Chase Utley. IMO, I don’t think Freese can be that “every-day” player. If Muncy is to be played at 1st-base, then so be it. Playing Muncy at 1st-2nd-3rd scares me, because he won’t be able to proficient at one position. They will be a play, if not already, that will cost the Dodgers a game in the standings or even worse, the playoffs.

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