Freeman gets 50 RBIs as quickly as rook named Hank

DENVER – After watching Freddie Freeman hit five homers against them in five games over a 15-day span, the Colorado Rockies didn’t need more evidence to know the Braves first baseman was a special rookie.

But here’s more: Freeman’s three runs driven in during Monday’s 7-4 win against the Rockies raised his season total to 50 RBIs, making him the first Braves rookie to get 50 by July 18 since the great Hank Aaron in 1954.

“It’s pretty impressive to see,” said Braves pitcher Derek Lowe (6-7), who was staked to an early 5-0 lead Monday. “I think if you ask him, this is probably how he anticipated him hitting all along. That’s what makes good young hitters and pitchers so successful — this isn’t a big jump for these guys. They expect to hit like this.

“He’s added a tremendous amount of power to the middle of our lineup.”

Freeman went 3-for-5 including a 442-homer to straightaway center field in the third inning, his 14th homer of the season and ninth in 31 games. It made him 10-for-19 with five homers and 10 RBIs in five games – all wins – against Colorado this month.

“I guess it’s just one of those stretches,” said the 21-year-old California native. “I feel good. Everything’s connected. I’m just going up the middle. When you go up through the middle, there no defense up there, so you have [margin] for error.”

Freeman has hit .316 with a .375 on-base percentage and .547 slugging percentage in his past 49 games before Tuesday, after hitting .227 with four homers,  a .319 OBP and .355 slugging perecentage in his first 43 games.

With the series-opening win, the Braves improved to a National League-best 44-24  since May 1. Freeman was a major part of that, especially since some established Braves hitters were hurt or slumped in that period.

He drove in 23 runs in his past 20 games, making him the third Braves rookie with more than 20 RBIs in a 20-game span since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966, according to Elias Sports Bureau. David Justice had 25 RBIs in 20 games in August 1990, and Bob Horner had 22  in 20 games in August 1978.

“He’s swinging a hot bat right now,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Both of those guys, [Brian] McCann and him, are right where you want them to be in the middle of the lineup right now. And it doesn’t matter if it’s lefties, righties, they hit both.”

31 comments Add your comment

Shawn

July 19th, 2011
8:24 pm

Love me some Freddie

Todd

July 19th, 2011
8:25 pm

great to see Freddie doing so well! Saw him play in AAA last year and you could tell he had that raw power potential…

Coach D

July 19th, 2011
8:40 pm

STUD… That’s all he is. Hope the Braves keep him for many, many more years. 4th!

Jimmy Beam, you are my friend

July 19th, 2011
8:40 pm

BravesGrrrl

July 19th, 2011
8:56 pm

I really love watching him! He has such enthusiasm, but also seems to be as cool as a cucumber in the batter’s box.

kreedham

July 19th, 2011
8:56 pm

Well Uggla has got a hitting streak going but it’s bad when you go 1 for 5 and your average goes up. We could use a few 2 hit games from him.

On Lowe, I think we should keep him…hopefully he can’t pitch the last month like last year! Just hope the Phillies don’t trump us at trade time.

kreedham

July 19th, 2011
8:57 pm

Of course I mean can pitch like last year not “can’t”

P-Man

July 19th, 2011
9:08 pm

Hope Freeman and the Braves can keep it up. This is turning into a fun season!

mack

July 19th, 2011
9:09 pm

I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about him last year after the call-up, but he’s been doing nothing but proving he belongs. Nice to see. Hopefully he’s manning first base for a lot of years to come in a Braves uni.

Deedle Nick

July 19th, 2011
9:28 pm

Compare the facial expressions of McCann, Freeman and Heyward in the batter’s box. Two of them actually look like they want to be there.

John

July 19th, 2011
10:07 pm

Schafer and jones coming back. Oh no, there goes the Braves. Nothing but down with two poor playes. Why the cheers for Schafer. Bad player

murf4HOF

July 19th, 2011
10:53 pm

Freddie is the most exciting 1B to come up through the system in a long time, if not ever! HE and MAC will hopefully be around through the next decade.. GO BRAVES!

DALE MURPHY

July 19th, 2011
10:54 pm

I’d be glad to mentor Heyward

29tigerboys

July 19th, 2011
11:23 pm

Somebody please explain to me why we don’t have Constanza on the roster and let Lugo go. I know it has to do with him being on the 40 man roster, but why not put Constanza on there & let lugo go?

A-Ville Ranger

July 20th, 2011
12:06 am

The fact he can hit to straight away center with power to spare is a very good sign. I think his combination of natural strength, a strong mind and nuturally short, smooth swing will separate him from the crowd for many years to come.

Bob the Blogger

July 20th, 2011
12:13 am

It’s good that Freeman embraces the idea of hitting up the middle and using the whole field. Most players his age and size are only thinking of how far they can it the ball. And let’s not forget about his defense; he catches everything remotely close to first base – bad throws, hard hit balls, everything.

wayn-o

July 20th, 2011
1:38 am

I’m thinking Uggla should give Freddi a new car at the end of the season for padding his error stats (Gonzalez & Chipper too)

bobbymahlon

July 20th, 2011
8:00 am

WAYN-O 7/20/11 @1:38am You are sooooooooo right.

ramblingman

July 20th, 2011
9:23 am

Nice to see Mack admit he was one of those questioning a rookie at 1B for the Braves. Where oh where are the others? Where are the goobers who were predicting gloom and doom for the Braves? The ones who were saying we needed to go out and get a proven player for 1B?

I would say it’s good to see they were shut up, but they’ve just have moved on to criticizing some other player. They have been joined by the ones who were skeptical of JJ coming back from injury.

That’s why we don’t listen to you goobers.

Go Braves.

Doug

July 20th, 2011
10:51 am

When you watch Freeman play and listen to him talk it is often hard to believe he is 21 years old. I agree that we must keep Freddi a long time at first base, a problem spot since McGriff left. Hopefully Freeman become the face of the Braves like Chipper has for so many seasons.

Nice seeing Uggla finally coming around, he is too good a hitter to not bounce back as long as he remains healthy.

Lets also not give up on Jason Hayward, kid is also 21 and we know he has amazeing potential. Lots of players struggle in the second season in the Majors as pitchers compile the so called book on how to pitch a guy. Hayward needs to adjust, quit getting so many little nagging injuries and work on just makeing contact.

Freemans swing is so compact ( a left handed Horner)… Hayward could/should shorten up his swing some. Then again this brings us to hitting coaches……. something we have lacked for quite awhile in Atlanta.

Beltran maybe to the Braves? I still can’t stand the Mets ……..

Heisenberg

July 20th, 2011
10:59 am

Without Lugo, there is not a backup SS. It is either him, Diory, Ed Lucas, or Hicks in that spot. Could have been Keppinger though. Giants got him cheap. Braves could have met that asking price.

Braves '73

July 20th, 2011
11:28 am

cool fact: in his rookie year, Hank Aaron wore uni number 5, which is, of course, Freeman’s number. Hank switched to 44 the next year. I’d love to know why Hank switched numbers if anyone knows.

Mason

July 20th, 2011
11:59 am

I drafted Freddie in the 22nd round this year in fantasy. Paying some pretty amazing dividends.

MichaelC

July 20th, 2011
2:00 pm

I am a big fan of Freddie, but let’s all take a seditive comparing him to the Hammer. He’s got enough pressure already…..(See Francoeur & Heyward)…..

bill arp

July 20th, 2011
3:12 pm

over the long haul, Freeman’s numbers will be better than Heyward’s and Frenchy’s(the natural and the golden child)

ChillyMutt

July 20th, 2011
4:02 pm

And DOB didn’t even mention the leather. Freddie is gold glove caliber. :-)

MattNAustin

July 20th, 2011
4:18 pm

Bill, I’ve been saying that way before Freeman really got hot…

David Puddy

July 20th, 2011
4:52 pm

Henry Aaron switched to 44 simply because he wanted a double-digit number.

Don

July 20th, 2011
5:54 pm

ok guys. So Heyward hasn’t learned to hit left-handed pitching yet. Let’s not give up on him. Now we’re looking for a R-handed hitter. How about Frenchy – he’s having a good year it looks like. That way we can platoon the two of them & give Chipper something else to talk about in his fire-side chats. No, I’m serious.

Braves '73

July 21st, 2011
12:28 pm

hey David – not doubting you but just curious, how do you know that? Is it in one of his books that I haven’t read? Any source for that? thanks!!

Bobby Cox

July 21st, 2011
10:18 pm

The team made Hank Aaron change his number.

DALLAS, TX – “The Milwaukee Braves baseball jersey that Hank Aaron wore in 1954, the year that began his fabled career, will be the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions’ April 21-22 Signature(r) Sports Memorabilia Auction. It is expected to bring $200,000+.The historical appeal of the jersey is enhanced by the ghostly stitching pattern of a number “5″ beneath Aaron’s trademark number “44″, a digit worn by Aaron only his rookie campaign. The team-instituted number change would suggest subsequent action in Aaron’s sophomore season as well.”

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