The Atlanta Braves are going to give 21-year old lefty swinging 1B Freddie Freeman every opportunity to win the starting 1B job this spring. Freeman came into the 2010 season as the Braves’ #2 prospect according to Baseball America. Freeman played in 124 games in AAA-ball lasst season and he was 147 of 461 (.319 avg, .898 OPS) with 73 runs scored, 18 homers, 87 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Freeman finished the season in Atlanta where he played in 20 games and was 4 of 24 (.167 avg, .500 OPS) with 3 runs scored, 1 homer and 1 RBI. Freeman whiffed 8 times for the Braves as he appeared a bit nervous making his major league debut during a playoff race. Freeman didn’t make any errors in 12 games at 1B for the Braves and he has a solid mitt. The Braves hope that Freeman will follow Jason Heyward’s footsteps starting this year.
32-year old lefty swinging Eric Hinske will take over if Freeman isn’t ready for prime time in 2011. Hinske played in 131 games for the Braves last season and he was 72 of 281 (.256 avg, .793 OPS) with 38 runs scored, 11 homers and 51 RBIs. Hinske only made 1 error in 32 games at 1B for the Braves last season as he is solid there. He is a very underrated baseball player and the Braves would not be in much trouble if he started at 1B in 2011, but that’s not the plan.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BRAVES 1B IN 2011: C