Washington Nationals: 5 to watch as Braves visit before All-Star Break

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Brandon Phillips
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Brandon Phillips /
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Freddie Freeman

2017 has been an eventful season for the face of the Braves, Freddie Freeman. He is having another phenomenal season, batting .338 in 38 games. If you look past the stats, however, you’ll find a significant injury and a position change.

On May 17, Freeman was hit by a 94 mph Aaron Loup fastball, fracturing his wrist. While the severity of his injury and timetable for return were not immediately known, it was clear that he would miss a significant period of time.

In order to fill the hole at first base, the Braves traded for Matt Adams. Adams has never been a spectacular player, so it was viewed as a move to acquire a temporary starter. Since the trade, Adams has hit .290 with 12 homers in 40 games and has surpassed all expectations.

With Adams playing as well as he has, Freeman volunteered to play third base upon his return. This seemed unlikely to actually occur considering he is the face of the franchise and plays gold glove-caliber defense at first base, but he returned on July 4 and played third base.

The transition to third base has gone well so far; Freeman made a nice play near the line with a perfect throw in his first game and made another perfect throw on the run in his second game.

Although a franchise player switching positions is uncommon, it is not unheard of. Ryan Zimmerman, the face of the Nationals, began his career as a third baseman before moving to first base. Freeman did the opposite, but Zimmerman has handled the switch incredibly well, which should give Freeman some hope.

Freeman is one of the best all-around players in the league, and it should be interesting to keep an eye on him as he gets back into the swing of things while also learning a new position.