Ranking the 2016 NL East: First Basemen
No. 1 Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
Since he emerged on the big league stage in 2011, Freddie Freeman has been the first baseman to beat in the NL East. He’s been an all-star twice and in parts of six seasons he’s averaged 22 homers and 91 RBIs.
Freeman’s best season was in 2013, when he hit .319 with 23 home runs and 109 RBIs. He was selected to the NL all-star team that season and again in 2014, when he played in all 162 games.
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Injuries prevented Freeman from returning to his dominant form last season. He landed on the 15-day disabled list twice, once in June with a right wrist contusion and again in August with a strained right oblique. On the year, Freeman played in just 118 games, batting .276 with 18 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Despite his injury-shortened season, Freeman still posted the highest offensive WAR of any NL East first baseman. Of course, it doesn’t help Freeman that the Braves are still rebuilding and he doesn’t have a whole lot of help in the lineup. But if Freeman can stay healthy, he’s shown time and time again that he can be both productive at the plate and a workhorse who can play every game in a season.
At 26 years old, Freeman will enter the third year of his 8-year, $135 million deal with the Braves in 2016. And if he can stay healthy all season long, there’s a good chance he’ll be the most productive first baseman in the NL East again next season.