Man, Razzball must really hate Freddie Freeman, eh? Ehhhh, hate is such a strong word. Loathe? Sure. Despise? Maybe. Disgustipated? Only amongst Tool fans (btw, you guys are awesome. Love Track #1! *Sniffs fist like Kennedy from MTV*). I mention the hate because Grey has already notified us that Freddie is, in fact, a Schmohawk this year earlier this morning. Why pile on, you ask? Well, telling you someone is overpriced is useful but since that’s covered, how about we look at this from a market exploitation angle now that we know not to buy, eh? So let’s compare the stats and the relative price differences the market offers to get your pseudo-Freddie freak on. Here’s a little draft day arbitrage for 2015 Fantasy Baseball. *Sniffs fist like Kennedy from MTV again for no good reason other than to make you google it*
Exploitable Commodity: Freddie Freeman, Consensus Rank 27
Steamer Projections: 80/24/83/.285/3
Blue Chip Comp: Adrian Gonzalez, Consensus Rank 39
Steamer Projections: 76/24/85/.280/2
Though it’s true you’re not saving much here, you are allowing yourself to wait a full round plus (perhaps more) and get what looks like, apples to apples, the same player. Obviously, age is on the side of the Freeman owner but on the flipside, Adrian at 32 isn’t ready to be put out to pasture. Also something to consider: at age 24, A-Gonz hit 24 HRs and then followed with four straight 30+ homerun seasons. At age 24, Freeman hit only 18 and his career high in HRs to date in a season is 23. If you’re investing expecting a spike in power from Freeman, you’re better off just going with the tried and true of A-Gonz.
S&P 500 Comp: Joey Votto, Consensus Rank 72
Steamer Projections: 77/19/68/.279/4
Obviously, the further down the comp trail you go, the more risk you take on. Votto at 31 seems to be ten+ years older than Adrian Gonzalez who’s only a little under two years his senior. That said, I think there’s plenty of average upside in Votto at this stage. I wouldn’t be drafting him looking back at his 2010/2011 seasons but a return to 2013 wouldn’t be too crazy. Given the two offenses involved, I’d bank on Votto having the RBIs closer by the end of the year without much effort but that’s irrelevant: we are looking at two very similar players but one with a bit of a discount discount.
Russell 2000 Comp: Eric Hosmer, Consensus Rank 132
Steamer Projections: 75/18/76/.278/8
We’re now 100 spots removed from where you could’ve drafted Freddie so obviously the comps get a little weaker the further we slip. That said, other than obvious power downside with drafting Hosmer, we’re looking at two 25 year old 1st basemen who were considered high end prospects within their respective organizations and have close to the same amount of service time in the major leagues. This comp obviously has its warts but when weighing in steals upside and near identical counting stat expectations between the two, we’re not looking at a solid argument for drafting Freeman near the first two rounds.
Pink Sheets Comp: Billy Butler, Consensus Rank 229
Steamer Projections: 71/15/74/.273/1
Mmm, country breakfast with a side of moobs, please! Butler has under his belt two seasons in which he has hit 20+ HRs and one in which he hit 19 so it’s not unfair to say he could bring the power numbers back with a change of scenery in Oakland. When comping Butler to Freeman, we have to realize Butler between the ages 23 and 26 had HR seasons of 21/15/19/29 before being declared a player who lacked power. Freeman has had a declining ISO for three straight seasons after spiking up to .196 in 2012. Steamer predicts a return to that level this year and actually a career high in HRs. I’m not one to argue with the Matrix but the reality is a decline in power at a young age has happened before to players when we expected the opposite and it can happen again.