There are many stats to consider with Atlanta Braves‘ Freddie Freeman, as well as many different measurements. The idea here is to give a bunch of different measurements that can be looked at as his career progresses.
First let’s talk about Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Baseball Reference WAR (bWAR) is going to be used here because it seems to focus a little more on offense than Fangraphs. Typically defense should be used more in a debate, but the reality is that HOF voters, although they are coming around to it, just don’t give defense enough credit yet.
As most of us know, WAR is gained in accumulation, much like HRs or Hits, not like batting average or OBP. Freddie has accumulated 38.7 WAR in his 11+ years of work (However, his first season he only had 20 games).
Freddie Freeman averages approximately 147 games per year in a full season. With 38.7 WAR in his career, he averages about 3.88 WAR per 147 games played
It is important to note that this is with a few years that he was injured for part of the time. If you want to look at just offensive WAR, since some voters unjustly disregard defense, he has an offensive WAR (oWAR) of 38.1.
Let’s look at average Hall of Famers at his position. There are 21 players who primarily played 1st base in the Hall of Fame. Their average WAR is 66.9. Their average 7 year peak is 42.7 WAR. Unfortunately, Freddie’s current 7 year peak is 31.9. But, like stated earlier, he is super consistent. Many of these Hall of Fame 1st baseman were streakier than him.
There are a few outlier inclusions in the Hall of Fame. High Pockets Kelly is somehow in the HOF with a career WAR of 24.9, and Jim Bottomly has a career WAR of 35. There are also guys in the HOF that have insane WAR totals. Lou Gehrig has a WAR of 114.1, Jimmie Foxx 93.1, and Albert Pujols will be a shoe in at 99.6 WAR once he is eligible.
There are Hall of Fame careers to look at that Freddie has a high likelihood of catching that could realistically be argued should or should not have been elected, with both arguments having merit.
· Tony Perez with a 54 WAR
· Orlando Cepeda (50.0)
· Harmon Killebrew (60)
· Hank Greenberg (55.7)
· George Sisler (54)
· Bill Terry (55.8)
· Jake Beckley (61.7)
The point of showing these names is that Freddie could easily catch these players in terms of WAR. Whether these players deserve to be in the HOF or not is not up for debate here. Their careers are just being used as a measuring stick.
If we look at players of Freddie’s profile, the average player plays for around 19-20 years give or take a few years. For arguments sake, let’s say Freddie has 8 seasons after this year since that will equal 20. Then, let’s say there may be some seasons as he gets older that he will not get full seasons in.
The average 1st baseman in the Hall of Fame has a WAR of 66.9 WAR. Freddie is on pace for a career 39.39 career WAR at the end of the 2021 season. He needs 27.52 WAR to get to the 66.9 Average. That would mean if he can put out 8 more years in the MLB, he would need to average 3.43 WAR.
Like stated earlier, he is averaging 3.88 WAR per season as of right now. So, if he keeps up his consistency that he has had, he will get there if he can stay healthy. History has proven that he will regress with age. Fortunately though, historically defense regresses way faster than offense, and 1st base does not hinge on defense as much as other positions.
Arguably, a player that could be used as decent measuring stick, would be Harmon Killebrew. Even though it can be argued either way that he should be in the HOF or not statistically, you will be hard pressed to see an argument that he should not be in. He is about as average a Hall of Famer statistically as they come.
If Freddie is able to surpass him, then there is at least an argument that he should be in. If we do the same calculations as before, Freddie would only need 2.57 WAR per season for 8 Years of ball to match Killebrew’s output. For reference, Freeman has only had a 2.57 WAR or below in 2 of his full seasons in the league. The rest of his seasons ranged from 3 to 6.3.
From a WAR standpoint, Freddie is slowly making a case to be voted into the HOF. He won’t be a first ballot guy like Chipper, but he will be able to make a case if he stays healthy.