Do a Google search for “Mets Killer” and you will be inundated with articles about and images of retired third baseman Chipper Jones. There is no player in the history of the game that has hit the Mets harder than Jones. It is certainly no coincidence that Chipper’s named one of his sons Shea. But in that same Google search you will find a new trend developing. Freddie Freeman’s name is now linked to the New York ball club because of his early success against them. You’ll hear him referred to as the new Mets killer in Braves’ circles and for good reason.
Take a look at a comparison of Freddie’s offense against the Mets and that of Chipper:
Take a moment to consider just how impressive Freeman’s numbers are given that he has played in 3 full seasons plus a mere 20 games when he first came up with the club in 2010. Chipper had 19 years big league and 245 games against the Mets (compared to Freddie’s 56 games).
Over the last 3 games, Freddie Freeman continued to put up good numbers against the National League East rival. Though the series was ultimately a losing one for the Braves, minus a superb outing by Ervin Santana in his Braves debut (8 IP, 3 H, 6 K, 0 ER), Freeman lead the Braves’ offense.
His Met-killing numbers in the series:
|Apr 8 to Apr 10, 2014||12||12||1||5||1||0||3||.417||.417||.500|
With Freeman’s 8 year/$135 million deal (through 2021 when he will be 32) with the Braves, it’s certainly possible that Freeman will surpass Chipper Jones as the Atlanta Braves player with the best numbers against the New York Mets.
Freeman had a torrid spring, hitting .368 with 21 hits, 4 doubles, 2 homers, 9 RBI and 7 walks (in 57 ABs). For Freeman the season couldn’t begin soon enough.
Taking his dominant spring into the season, Freeman has a .419 average, on-base percentage of .514 and .677 slugging percentage in the first 9 games. He has gone 13-for-31 with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 5 RBIs, 6 walks and only 4 strikeouts.
In addition to stellar offense, Freddie Freeman puts on a defensive clinic nightly with shortstop Andrelton Simmons who routinely makes outstanding plays that Freeman stretches out for and picks better than any first baseman in the big leagues. His defense is underrated for many reasons, but the stretch he utilizes to get runners out by a step is under-appreciated in the league.
Freeman has the opportunity to not only continue slaying the Mets, but making multiple MVP and batting title runs in the National League. His 8-year deal with the Braves may turn out to be the best financial decision the Braves made in their busy offseason. Freeman’s time with the Braves may turn out to be just as successful as Braves’ greats Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones.
Tara Rowe is an independent historian and beat writer for BravesWire.com. Follow Tara on Twitter @framethepitch.