Much of the intrigue surrounding the Atlanta Braves’ quick start to the 2014 campaign has to do with the performances of their four-man rotation — three 26-and-under guys (Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, David Hale) plus veteran journeyman Aaron Harang — and rightfully so. The preseason injuries to the rotation could have wreaked havoc on the team’s first month of the season, give or take, but here Atlanta sits with a 4-2 record and an MLB-best 1.63 starters’ ERA.
Freddie Freeman isn’t doing too bad himself, though.
Fresh off an offseason in which he signed the most lucrative contract in franchise history, the 24-year-old first baseman has jumped right out of the gate and once again finds himself among the big league offensive leaders. Through six games against formidable pitching, he’s hitting .421/.560/.792 with two home runs. He’s walking in nearly a quarter of his plate appearances and his personal fast start has prop up a Braves offense that has yet to light up the scoreboard this season. In terms of offensive production, only two other MLB players have opened up the 2014 season on such a hot streak (weighted runs created via FanGraphs):
It’s early. Those numbers will eventually fall — and fall a long way, unless Hamilton plans on making baseball history by flirting with a .500 batting average this season. All the same, Freeman’s numbers have been impressive and necessary. Atlanta scored just 15 runs during the first two series despite his efforts in the No. 3 spot, so perhaps a visit from the Mets (4.75 team ERA) will help even things out across the lineup. Our writers weigh in on the team’s fast start, the upcoming week and more in this episode: