We’re already 128 games into the 2022 MLB season, and Freddie Freeman has played in every one of them for the Dodgers. The Los Angeles Dodgers, to the shock of no one, are once again the best team in baseball. The Boys in Blue enter play on Wednesday with a record of 90-38 with a run differential of +287. The juggernaut of a baseball team are 41-9 in their last 50 games.
One of the biggest reasons for the Dodgers success this year was the offseason signing of the former NL MVP to a six-year, $162 million contract.
MLB Trade Rumors predicted Freeman would get six years and $180 million. The slightly cheaper deal looks like a relative bargain now. The level Freeman is playing at for the Dodgers 128 games into the season has me asking myself, “We have six more years of this?!” The surreality of watching Freeman play in a Dodgers uniform remains a feeling I have yet to kick.
Freeman has obviously played very well for the Dodgers so far, and his numbers have consistently aligned with his overall career stats, if not slightly better. The move from the East Coast to the West Coast hasn’t affected the 32-year old first baseman offensively at all, and Mr. Consistency always finds a way to come up big in clutch situations as well. He came into yesterday’s game OPSing a whopping 1.054 with runners in scoring position for the Dodgers.
Freddie leads the Dodgers and is second in the NL beyond Paul Goldschmidt with a .327 batting average. Freeman has a team-best on-base percentage (.398) and OPS (.913), and he’s only second to Mookie Betts (.560) in slugging percentage (.515). The veteran first baseman also leads the majors in hits (163) and doubles (42) in 499 at-bats.
His home run numbers may be down a bit, but Freeman’s OPS+ is 20 points higher than last year at 155, and his exit velocity (91.6) and hard-hit rate (47.5%) all indicate that Freeman is still hitting the ball hard after all these years.
Even backing away from the stats, Freeman’s already had magical moments like his first home run as a Dodger was against his former team, the Braves. It was an iconic moment.
Hindsight is 20/20, but the Dodgers are especially fortunate to have signed Freeman to shore up first base on the heels of a devastating late-season arm injury to Max Muncy. His struggles in making his way back from that injury in 2022 have only amplified Freeman’s importance to this team.
While the bat is most talked about, Freeman’s defense has been surprisingly solid, and I didn’t expect his aggressiveness on the basepaths either. The big first baseman has stolen 10 bases already, tying a career-high.
The Dodgers currently sit in first place, and look to reclaim the National League West title after their decade-long reign was snapped in 2021 by the San Francisco Giants. It will not only be exciting to watch Freeman play for the Dodgers this postseason, but for many postseasons to come.
Freddie Freeman’s been one of the top players in the majors over the last 13 seasons. The break-up between Freeman and the Braves was messy, but Freddie has been welcomed in L.A. with open arms where he continues to play like a MVP day in and day out.