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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Freddie the 1st Brave in history to cycle twice

As the Braves continue to strengthen their place atop the National League East standings, Freddie Freeman is creating reason to wonder if he might end up winning a second straight NL MVP Award.

Freeman strengthened his resume as he hit for the cycle in Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins at loanDepot park. The veteran first baseman became the first Braves player to hit for the cycle multiple times.

Freeman secured the cycle when he homered off Marlins right-hander Luís Madero in the sixth inning. He doubled in the first and tripled during a four-run fourth. His fifth-inning single put him a home run shy of the Braves’ first cycle since he produced one on June 15, 2016, in a win over the Reds.

Freeman joined Trea Turner and Jake Cronenworth as the only players to hit for the cycle this season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 10:23 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, cycles, freddie freeman

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   1. Hank Gillette Posted: August 18, 2021 at 11:56 PM (#6035063)
This is just stupid.

Hitting for the cycle is a fun accomplishment, but I don’t see how that improves his résumé for MVP. He has 3.3 WAR so far this season and is not even in the top 10 in the NL for position player WAR. Additionally, there are at least 10 NL pitchers with more WAR than Freeman. If there is reason to wonder if he might win a second straight MVP award, I can’t see it.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: August 19, 2021 at 07:53 AM (#6035086)
To get Freeman in the MVP conversation, you have to ignore pitchers, limit the award to first place teams, and weigh playing time more than almost any other stat. And Austin Riley still beats him.
   3. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: August 19, 2021 at 11:17 AM (#6035115)
The cycle is a fun occurrence, that's about it.
   4. Hank Gillette Posted: August 19, 2021 at 03:43 PM (#6035172)
What was impressive is that Freeman was the first player to hit for the cycle more than once as a Brave. The Braves have been a baseball franchise for 145 years.

I wonder how many other franchises have no players with multiple cycles.

Edit: I see that the original article has been modified to say that Freeman is the second player to hit for the cycle twice while a Brave, so by all means, let’s elect him MVP.
   5. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: August 19, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6035180)
JJ mentioned Austin Riley, and there are no Riley articles up at the moment, so I thought I'd chime in with this.

Since the ASB Riley is hitting 352/413/696. Sure sure, it's 143 PA, but Riley is on one hellacious tear.
   6. bfan Posted: August 19, 2021 at 07:34 PM (#6035220)
Freeman leads league in runs scored (it is a stat); is 6th in OPS; plays every day (Bill James-“not getting injured is a skill”); and plays for a contender (I think that has mattered, historically).

I lean toward Tatis, especially if he can play the rest of the way, but any umbrage over Freeman being in the MVP consideration discussion is surprising to me.He is right there.
   7. JJ1986 Posted: August 19, 2021 at 08:05 PM (#6035222)
Freeman leads league in runs scored (it is a stat); is 6th in OPS; plays every day (Bill James-“not getting injured is a skill”); and plays for a contender (I think that has mattered, historically).
We have better ways of evaluating players than this. He's a 1B and most of the good candidates are middle infielders or multi-position guys.
   8. bfan Posted: August 20, 2021 at 08:50 AM (#6035285)
We do have different ways to evaluate players, and many have legitimacy.

I am moved by the warnings of many here over the years that as WAR took hold, it would just become a be all, end all, end of debate lay down for every baseball conversation. It is an important tool, but valuable is ultimately a value judgement, and the factors listed above (at the least you have to show up and play very often and playing for a good team is very important and you have to hit) are important to me.

Many (in another thread) have extolled the MVP candidacy of Wheeler of Philadelphia, based upon his WAR. I think he is terrific and having a great season, but the notion that (based on where we are right now, but projecting the rest of the season) a starter who goes 14-9 on a .500 team just doesn’t move me.

Freeman is just on the fringe now and would need to close strong and the Braves need to win. But he is certainly in the conversation, and a reasonable candidate.
   9. bunyon Posted: August 20, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#6035287)
A cycle puts Freeman in the MVP conversation because the MVP conversation is entirely a media construct and a second career cycle is a handy media hook.

A lot of you all seem not to have learned that MVP awards are not about who is the best player even if that's what you think it should be. Freeman is the reigning MVP having a good year for a team having a good year and making a bit of a late run. He'll be in the conversation and hitting for the cycle gives the reporter and easy night as the copy writes itself. MSM MVP discussions are not sabermetric analyses. Everyone knows this.
   10. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: August 20, 2021 at 09:12 AM (#6035289)
Freeman's MVP case would basically be an old-school narrative one -- the Braves scuffled for most of the season, they made a dramatic turnaround after the trade deadline and surged into first place and Freeman's been clobbering the ball throughout that surge. He wouldn't be my pick (depending on how the last month+ of the season plays out, of course), even as a Braves fan, but I don't think he'd go down in history as a truly embarrassing MVP.
   11. bfan Posted: August 20, 2021 at 09:31 AM (#6035291)
There you go, #10; that is it.

If Tatis comes back strong he still has the best chance but I would think there are about 5 to 7 players that “if that happens” they can win it.

Chipper Jones won his with a great series against the Mets in September. He didn’t even make the all star team that year. Of course his overall stats backed it up, but that series set the stage for the vote.
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 20, 2021 at 11:28 AM (#6035303)
Freeman is not only leading the NL in runs, but its not close, he has 90 while second place has 83.

Scoring runs is the entire point of the game. He has done it better than anyone in his league.

It is not crazy to consider him in the discussion.
   13. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 20, 2021 at 12:22 PM (#6035313)
Scoring runs is the entire point of the game. He has done it better than anyone in his league.

That is a funny way of saying Freeman has good hitters behind him.

But sure, if he finishes the year strong he'll be a viable candidate. He'll be around 5 WAR in a year where there's been no dominant NL player. Right now I'd say Muncy is the favorite but a lot can change over the last quarter of the season.
   14. Ron J Posted: August 20, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6035317)
#12, run scoring has almost never mattered in a narrative case. RBI has mattered a lot more -- thought perhaps not so much in recent years.

But #13 has the right of it. Things like linear weights capture his contribution to the run scoring. There are huge factors beyond his control such as batting order position and taste in teammates that shape the counter stats.

   15. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 20, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6035347)
That is a funny way of saying Freeman has good hitters behind him.

That is a funny way of saying Freeman is leading the NL in Times On Base for the fourth consecutive season. His OBP is 4th, while he leads the league in PA, because he is a guy who shows up every day trying to win games.

But, yeah, its the teammates.

   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 20, 2021 at 03:23 PM (#6035356)
But, yeah, its the teammates.


Times On Base most definitely is affected by teammates. Being part of a bad offense will limit your plate attempts, it's not hard to realize that.

Freeman is good, and he is typically healthy, no doubt. But he's not really a top MVP candidate - he does a bunch of things well, but nothing really superlative. Freeman's current OPS would be the worst for any MVP winner since 2013's McCutchen (skipping past Kershaw and using Stanton's 2nd place MVP finish as the standard in 2014 and Verlander over Ellsbury) and 2008's Pedroia. From a 1B with meh defensive numbers, that's not all that enticing.
   17. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 20, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6035366)
Does Joey Votto not still bang?! After winning NL player of the month in July, he is hitting "only" .302/.384/.651 in August. Count the RBIs! 39 in 32 games since the All-Star Break!
   18. Ron J Posted: August 20, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6035367)
#15 And if you want to discuss his OBP, fine. That's important. What additional information does his runs scored add? Are you arguing he's a clutch baserunner? That he's scored more runs than you'd expect than given his times on base (plus the advancement he contributed), considering the players around him.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 20, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6035369)
#15 And if you want to discuss his OBP, fine. That's important. What additional information does his runs scored add?


His ability to move himself around the bases with his extra-base hitting, his baserunning, his durability.

I don't understand the desire of many analysts to ignore information, particularly when it concerns, as Barry's Lazy Boy says, the central purpose of the sport.
   20. Ron J Posted: August 20, 2021 at 05:21 PM (#6035373)
Nope. His contribution to the run scoring is captured by by his OBP and to a lesser extent his power.

If you want to bring in runs scored you need to add in things not covered by the basic batting line. His base stealing? He's at 70%. That's not adding any info. Is he an excellent baserunner. Possible, but again we have that info.

And this is worth looking at. He's taken an extra base an unusually high percentage of the time (though it doesn't seem to have added much value. He's +2 in baserunning and DP avoidance. That's actually pretty good compare to the typical 1B but doesn't explain his run scoring)
   21. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 20, 2021 at 05:37 PM (#6035374)
Nope. His contribution to the run scoring is captured by by his OBP and to a lesser extent his power.


I think where I diverge for something like an award is what actually happened vs what could have happened. OBP is better for figuring out players potential and what should happen in a given season but if he scores more runs than someone with a higher OBP, that happened, whether it was luck/skill/teammates/not being hurt... For an award, I don't care as much.
   22. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 20, 2021 at 05:42 PM (#6035377)
What additional information does his runs scored add?


We may consider it with all the other stats, however, I believe a couple of years ago someone took a poll and asked the players what their most important stat was and both Trout and Betts said it was runs scored as that was the point of the offense.

Doesn't really help Freddie's case as he's lagging in other areas but to the players it's a big deal.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: August 20, 2021 at 06:26 PM (#6035391)
I think where I diverge for something like an award is what actually happened vs what could have happened. OBP is better for figuring out players potential and what should happen in a given season but if he scores more runs than someone with a higher OBP, that happened, whether it was luck/skill/teammates/not being hurt... For an award, I don't care as much


But you are looking at a raw stat when you do that. A raw stat is nice but it doesn't tell you much other than the final result. How many pa did he have? how many of those pa did he score? If you are going to argue for runs as a stat, at least start with runs per pa. It's of course still incredibly weak way at looking at it, but it's better than just raw runs. We've discovered over the years that higher obp results in more runs scored at both the team level and individual level, and it's a better indicator of the ability to score runs than batting average or stolen bases or a host of others.

Baseball is a team sport so your job as a player is to do incremental work that improves your teams odds of winning.
   24. Adam Starblind Posted: August 20, 2021 at 09:26 PM (#6035421)
If you are going to argue for runs as a stat, at least start with runs per pa..


I think I speak for the Braves when I say I think they’d rather he scored more runs than more runs per plate appearance.
   25. bfan Posted: August 21, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6035459)
agree with 24, as playing time is critical too. Ronald Acuna may have more runs per plate appearance than Freeman but he hasn’t been there for a while. If he does, I am certain the Braves would trade freeman’s season to this point, to Acuna’s , although both are admirable.

2 points: I originally raised the runs point because Freeman is like 4th on the team in RBI. And the point is yes, in runs he is helped by those who hit behind him, but he batted second for most of the year meaning the 3 spots in front of him for a lot of the year were Braves catchers (I believe the Jackson/Smith/Vogt trio have hit .150 for about 160 ABs while D’Arnaud has been hurt); Braves pitchers; and Acuna (who drives himself home a lot), so RBI opportunities have been scarce for a good part of the season for him.

Second, as to showing up, 2 other viable competitors are Betts (only 87 games) and Tatis (92 games but really playing again), both have been out a bunch but are back now. If each can play in their team’s last 40 or so games, they should push themselves in the conversation. If the Dodgers baby Betts and he doesn’t get full time play to get him ready for when they play the Rays or White Sox in the WS, I do not think he will deserve much consideration. Betts is barely on pace now for getting 502 plate appearances for the season to qualify for a batting title. As a regular position player not a catcher, I would certainly get comfortable with that as a minimum.
   26. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 21, 2021 at 12:09 PM (#6035463)
Love Freddie, but Muncy does everything he does and plays 1/3 of his games a year at second base. So he'd have to be ahead of him on any ballot.
   27. JJ1986 Posted: August 21, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6035483)
Trea Turner is going to win the MVP when the Dodgers storm to the division title after acquiring him.
   28. bfan Posted: August 21, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6035491)
#27 can anyone explain why his WAR is listed as 0.2 on espn? Is that Dodgers only?
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: August 21, 2021 at 10:04 PM (#6035521)
wrong thread
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2021 at 11:03 PM (#6035527)
It seems to me that Guys who win back-to-back MVPs almost have to be even better (at least superficially) in the second season or just head and shoulders above the pack. Freeman doesn't qualify on either count.
   31. Ron J Posted: August 22, 2021 at 12:27 AM (#6035529)
#38 Probably. He's listed at .1 for the Dodgers on bbref.
   32. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 22, 2021 at 09:15 PM (#6035641)
Did Hank Aaron ever hit for the cycle? I'm surprised he didn't do it more often; he played in a lot of triples-friendly ballparks.

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