You can feel the excitement of MLB Spring Training in the air this time of year. The pitchers and catchers are days away from reporting to camp. That is awesome because not long after that the players report, which is awesome because not long after that the season begins. As excited and pumped about that as you and I are, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has us all beat. He is feeling the itch to return to Spring Training more than Chipper Jones is right now. That is good news on so many levels.
The Braves have Freeman pegged as a regular run producer for years to come. He figures to be a thirty homer and one-hundred RBI guy beginning this year and steadily for years to come. That might not be where he stops though. Not only does this guy have skills on offense and defense but he also has a flare for the dramatic. It was his walk-off home-run that clinched the Wild Card for the Braves in 2012 remember. That is about as clutch of a walk-off as you can get. The fact that he lived through the mauling at home plate is a testament to his strength as well.
Seriously, as a fan myself, to see a constant presence over at first base brings a smile to my face. I remember Sid Bream and Fred McGriff. Both of those guys did good work over there. Bream really was nothing dramatically special offensively though. His claim to Braves fame is that he was the winning run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in game seven of the NLCS comeback. You know the one. McGriff was the man. No doubt he was a run producer while he was there for the most part. He was moving towards the end of his career at the time but he was great there for years.
That’s about it. They had several good players over there but none lasted very long for their own reasons. The idea that this young slugger Freeman is so pumped to get going this year is a great sign of things to come. Look for him to step firmly into the next phase of his career this season. He’ll likely get that thirty / one-hundred mark this season and maybe go above it. The best thing about him is that he is young and proud to be a Brave. In other words, it appears we Braves fans will have a run producing, great defensive first baseman for a long time to come.