MLB is in a lockout, but some major dominoes fell in free agency before everything shut down.
Countless superstars changed uniforms, and the league will definitely have a new look in 2022.
However, a handful of huge names are still unsigned.
Freddie Freeman, who has spent his entire big-league career with the Atlanta Braves so far, is one of those guys.
Is he the best remaining hitter on the free-agent market?
Statistically, It Seems Like It
Very few hitters in baseball are on the same level as Freeman, and it seems safe to say that he’s the most productive batter remaining on the free-agent market.
Year after year, this guy produces at ridiculously high levels.
Over his last six seasons, he has maintained a .305 batting average, .946 OPS, and 146 OPS+.
Over the same span, he’s averaging 33 home runs, 41 doubles, and three triples per 162 games.
— SLIDIN’ DIRTY ⚾️ (@slidndirty) April 18, 2021
He’s also averaging a bWAR of 5.1 per 650 plate appearances during that same six-year stretch.
That’s a really long time to sustain that kind of production.
The 2021 champ has plenty of accolades to back up his stellar numbers, including five All-Star selections, three Silver Slugger awards, and an MVP award.
He has also finished in the top 10 of the NL MVP race in four straight seasons.
It’s hard to argue with any of that.
When It Comes To Age, Maybe Freeman Loses Some Points
So, yes, Freeman is probably the best remaining free-agent hitter when it comes to his year-to-year production.
But when age enters the discussion, then the playing field gets a little bit more equal as it pertains to comparing Freeman to some of the other top remaining free agents.
Freeman is 32 years old.
Although he’s showing no signs of slowing down, age catches up with every player eventually.
All of the guys we mentioned earlier — Bryant, Correa, Story, and Castellanos — are 30 years old or younger.
So, in that way, you could argue that those guys probably have better six-year, seven-year, eight-year windows in front of them (or whatever it may be) than Freeman does.
But again, Freeman has given us no reason to think that he’s going to run out of steam soon, so all we can do is speculate about how many good years he has left in the tank.
It could be two or it could be 10.
Where Will Freeman Land?
Look, Freeman belongs in a Braves uniform.
All MLB fans realize that.
But based on the way things have gone this offseason between the two sides, it seems like there are no guarantees that the superstar will be back with Atlanta in 2022.
While the Braves are still being described as the favorites to sign Freeman, it sounds like the two sides aren’t on the same page in negotiations.
Last heard 6th year was still at issue in Freeman/Braves talks but situation is fluid and they’ve still got to be considered the favorite. Meanwhile, other teams are showing interest in the great Brave.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 16, 2021
It remains to be seen how this will unfold.
The only certainty with Freeman’s future is that he’ll make some MLB team significantly better in 2022.