Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves

Age: 30 (September 12, 1989) | 6' 5" | 220lbs. | Bats: Left 1B-158 PH-1
Tm Lg YEAR G AB R H BB SO 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA OBP SLG BB% SO% BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
ATL R 2015 3 11 2 2 0 4 0 0 1 3 0 0 .182 .182 .455 0 36 .167 n/a
ATL AAA 2015 2 8 0 3 2 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 .375 .500 .500 20 30 .600 n/a
ATL NL 2015 118 416 62 115 56 98 27 0 18 66 3 1 .276 .370 .471 12 20 .321 37/28/36 19 18
ATL NL 2016 158 589 102 178 89 171 43 6 34 91 6 1 .302 .400 .569 13 25 .370 30/29/41 32 31
ATL AAA 2017 2 3 1 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .800 .667 40 20 1.00 n/a
ATL NL 2017 117 440 84 135 65 95 35 2 28 71 8 5 .307 .403 .586 13 18 .335 35/24/41 27 26
ATL NL 2018 162 618 94 191 76 132 44 4 23 98 10 3 .309 .388 .505 11 19 .358 36/32/31 34 32
ATL NL 2019 158 597 113 176 87 127 34 2 38 121 6 3 .295 .389 .549 13 18 .318 38/28/34 33 32
Career 10yrs 1346 4953 798 1451 646 1168 319 22 227 805 43 21 .293 .379 .504 11 20 .340 n/a
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Context MATTERS on any stat.

van wilhoite LVW
Feb 4

Did Freddie have a better season two years ago?

Yes, according to WAR.

2018: 6.1

2019: 4.4

Russell Carlton returns to BP to say hold the phone.

For what it was designed to do, WAR is really good at its job. It provides a great framework to evaluate players relative to one another, freed from the influences of what their teams did. That’s an important question, and I think it’s why WAR has become such an influential statistic in baseball analysis. But … I worry that the field of Sabermetrics has become a prisoner of WAR. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you have a context-neutralized statistic named after a form of fighting, everything looks like a chance to go nuclear on someone who still cites RBIs. Somewhere along the line, taking the context out of absolutely everything became a field-wide raison d’etre.

I get that the RBI thing was annoying, but do we have to strip everything down? What if the context actually turns out to be important and we can prove it? Consider for a moment how many things we ask WAR to do, despite the fact that it was never designed to do that. WAR assumes that the atomic unit of baseball is the player, yet the game remains one played by teams. WAR assumes that the player is being dropped onto what is effectively an average team in an average park in an average situation. When a team signs or trades for a player, inevitably the analysis focuses on what the new player’s WAR is projected to be (compared to the guy he’s replacing) with the assumption that he will make his new team exactly (X – Y) wins better. We use dollars-per-WAR as a rating scale for how “good” the contract is...

What I worry about is that we’ve grown so accustomed to pulling out the context that it’s become a reflex, one which we don’t recognize that we’re doing anymore. We forget that WAR was designed to answer a certain question and to do it, it has to bake in a lot of assumptions that (purposefully) take it out of the land of reality. If we’re ignoring reality, are we doing good analysis? Do we even have a framework for doing that?

So yeah, I’m back at BP (Hi!) And yes, there are plenty of gory mathematical details ahead. And I want this to be one of my beats. Does the context matter, and if so, how does it? WAR can’t be the answer to all questions, because not all questions are variants of “How good is Smith, compared to Jones?” Instead, I want to reclaim the idea of the structure of the game and how those players fit into that structure as something worth looking into, and maybe even something worth developing a metric about.

I'm listening, Russell. Very much look forward to what you come up with.

Alex Patton Alex
Feb 4

Hit .327 with runners on. When they were in scoring position, he hit .358.

Alex Patton Alex
Dec 30 '19
Fangraphs 2018: WAR 5.2 Bat 32 Field 8 Run 1 HR/FB 15% Pull 43% Hard 42% IFFB 2%
Fangraphs 2019: WAR 4.0 Bat 35 Field -5 Run -0 HR/FB 24% Pull 41% Hard 47% IFFB 4%
Alex Patton Alex
Dec 16 '19