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View Full Version : What is causing Freel's drop in production?



mbgrayson
05-28-2007, 12:14 PM
In April, Ryan Freel had a .262/.340/.321 line. In May thru the 27th, it is .245/.290/.404. Overall in 2007, Freel is at .253/.314/.365. His stolen base success rate is 57.1% this year.

Last season, Freel had a .271/.363/.399 line. His stolen base success rate was 77.1%. The current wisdom is that 75% success rate in SB is a point where the offensive team comes out ahead.

The Reds really can't afford to have a .314 OBP hitter leading off, especially when he is hurting the team with his base running.

Another thread does a nice job of documenting Freel's drop in value. (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58347) The question here is why has his value dropped this year?

Here are several possible reasons:
1. Workload. Many have noted that Freel's production drops when he plays every day. Last year, he played in 132 out of 162 games(81.5%). This year, he has played in 48 out of 51. (94.1%). Is it conincidental that we see the drop-off of his stats as the season grinds on?

2. Age. Conventional wisdom is that most players peak at age 26-29. Freel is now 31. Given his higher reliance on speed and reflexes, we may see a faster than usual drop-off.

3. Bad luck. Freel's K% is down this year. (2006=21.6%, 2007=15.7%). However, his BB% is also down. (2006=12.5%, 2007=8.4%) His BABIP is down from .330 to .291. So even though Freel is putting the ball in play much more than last year, he is getting on base far less. There is very little change in his GB/FB/LD rates from last year. See this site: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1207&position=3BOF If bad luck is playing a role here, we would hope that it simply turns around in the coming months.

4. Lack of patience/poor pitch selection. As mentioned above, his BB rate has declined markedly. However, Freel is currently 16th in the NL in pitches seen per plate appearance. (3.99 PPA(779/195 ). See this link: http://stats.washingtonpost.com/mlb/getleaders.asp?rank=211&Submit=Go Although his PPA number is down a little from last year, it is hard to make this case stick.

There are several factors in Freel playing so much: EE sent to minors, Hamilton on DL, etc. However, we are using him as an every day player this year, when he really should be our super-sub. Freel himself has acknowldeed this, and advocated for Hamilton starting in CF.

We really don't have great alternatives until Hamilton comes off DL next week. (May 18th was the last game Josh Hamilton played before going on the DL. Ryan Freel has played every game since then.) Then, we should get Freel some rest, have him walk more, and hope his luck turns....

Degenerate39
05-28-2007, 12:20 PM
Starting every day

Reds Freak
05-28-2007, 12:22 PM
Good post. All of those are valid reasons for a drop in production but in my opinion he is just not that good of a hitter. He's never going to hit much over .270 or get on base much more than than that .314 OBP. Fans in Cincinnati (including myself) love him for his all-out-style of play and his effort and hustle but his production isn't going to ever be much better than it is right now. He's a lead off hitter who has to swing early in the count because he can't hit an off speed pitch so he's never going to have a high OBP...

captainmorgan07
05-28-2007, 12:26 PM
myself i think it's starting everday that is wearing on freel he plays the game at 110 percent and sometimes i think he just wears himself out to the point where he has mental lapses at the plate and on the bases.

pahster
05-28-2007, 12:44 PM
He's never going to hit much over .270 or get on base much more than than that .314 OBP.

...uh...

Career - .272/.362/.381

No comment on the average, as I don't really think it matters, but he's gotten on base at a good clip throughout most of his career. He's topped a .360 OBP in the three years in which he had his most PAs. Freel may well be due for a decline, but I have a hard time believing he's going to end 2007 with an OBP of .314. Were he to do that, due to his complete lack of power, he would become almost entirely useless, similar to a couple other bench players the Reds are currently carrying *cough*Castro and Hopper*cough*.

WVPacman
05-28-2007, 11:37 PM
I think what Freel really needs to do so his production will go up as would his batting avarge is bunt more.Hes the fastest guy on the team along with hopper and he could beat out bunt hits all game long.That would raise his BA up and it would make Freel look more like a leadoff guy.I personally think he is over swinging with an uppercut on his swing leaving him to hit 70% of his atbats hitting flyballs.A leadoff hitter is suppose to keep the ball on the ground to set the table.Freel is doing that sometimes but he needs to do it alot more!!! If he would start bunting more I honestly think Freel would be an even better player.

Superdude
05-29-2007, 12:18 AM
Why is every now acting like Freel has always sucked at getting on base? Did you forget the last three years?

Mario-Rijo
05-29-2007, 12:32 AM
Career VS. LHP:

Avg. - .263

OBP% - .363

OPS. - .757

BABIP - .295

This Year VS. LHP:

Avg. - .158

OBP% - .169

OPS. - .472

BABIP - .175

Luck!? Of course he is hitting RHP much better this year and that's what is keeping him afloat. But I'll tell ya what, he hardly ever attempts to bunt (for a hit) anymore. In part because they have taken that away from him in most circumstances.

WVPacman
05-29-2007, 12:39 AM
But I'll tell ya what, he hardly ever attempts to bunt (for a hit) anymore. In part because they have taken that away from him in most circumstances.

A guy with his speed I think you can never take away a bunt from a guy like Freel.Look at Brett Butler he bunted his whole career and they never could keep him from bunting and getting basehits.

Reds Freak
05-29-2007, 12:40 AM
...uh...

Career - .272/.362/.381

No comment on the average, as I don't really think it matters, but he's gotten on base at a good clip throughout most of his career. He's topped a .360 OBP in the three years in which he had his most PAs. Freel may well be due for a decline, but I have a hard time believing he's going to end 2007 with an OBP of .314. Were he to do that, due to his complete lack of power, he would become almost entirely useless, similar to a couple other bench players the Reds are currently carrying *cough*Castro and Hopper*cough*.

Admittedly, I did not look at career stats before I made that post. I had no idea that Freel was a career .362 OBP guy. If you look at the more known lead off hitters in the league, Freel is right up there as far as OBP: Damon (.353), Taveras (.334), Castillo (.369), Rollins (.329), Sizemore (.364), Roberts (.349), Granderson (.332), and Eckstein (.350). I suppose I get frustrated with his lack of plate awareness (swinging at pitches and situations he shouldn't, etc.) and his base running blunders which cloud my vision of that career .362 stat. :)

Mario-Rijo
05-29-2007, 12:54 AM
A guy with his speed I think you can never take away a bunt from a guy like Freel.Look at Brett Butler he bunted his whole career and they never could keep him from bunting and getting basehits.


Good point, however we are talking about a guy who cannot hit a breaking ball consistently so it wouldn't surprise me too find out that he cannot bunt one either.

WVPacman
05-29-2007, 01:04 AM
Good point, however we are talking about a guy who cannot hit a breaking ball consistently so it wouldn't surprise me too find out that he cannot bunt one either.

Very good point, I never thought about that.That would make it harder now that you said that.If I had the speed like hes got and I could'nt hit a breaking ball then I would practice,practice, and practice b/c with his speed the bunt could be a leathel weapon.

bucksfan2
05-29-2007, 08:34 AM
I think Freel has been way overvalued as a reds player basically since day one because of his style of play. I think what drove Freel for so long was that he knew he had to earn every start he had. Now when he has a starting job he is trying to make things happen when he shouldn't be. I think Freel needs at least 2 days off a week, maybe even three. I also noticed that he gets a horriable jump out of the batters box. He looks like he is trying to drive to ball more and ending with the weight on his back heel which is costing him in both his double play numbers as well as infield hit numbers. If Freel is going to miss anywhere from 5-10 days with his latest collision I woud DL him just to get him more rest.

CySeymour
05-29-2007, 10:49 AM
Didn't Freel tank in May last year? It could be, for whatever reason, May is just a bad month for him.

Ludwig Reds Fan
05-29-2007, 11:26 AM
I think that huge collision with Hopper on Monday might be part of the problem too.








...what, too soon? ;)

Kurt Bevaqua
05-30-2007, 01:12 AM
He is simply not an everyday player.
The more he plays the more you see he isn't an everyday player...like the old adage Sparky uesed to throw out about utility players.
He is simply not the ideal leadoff hitter...doesn't work count, overly aggressive early in the count.
He plays hard, but he is not the smartest player out there....I think he is very overrated.

Kurt Bevaqua
05-30-2007, 01:13 AM
I like him, dont get me wrong...but Cincy fans are a little too ga-ga over his scrappiness.

Natty Redlocks
05-30-2007, 06:59 AM
He's always been very streaky. He'll be unbelievable for a month or so, then disappear completely. Ideally he'd either be on the bench or paired up with someone to stay in competition for the starting job; he seems to be at his best when he has to fight for playing time. Unlike most veterans, he seems like he'd be okay with that.

CySeymour
05-30-2007, 09:47 AM
He is simply not an everyday player.
The more he plays the more you see he isn't an everyday player...like the old adage Sparky uesed to throw out about utility players.
He is simply not the ideal leadoff hitter...doesn't work count, overly aggressive early in the count.
He plays hard, but he is not the smartest player out there....I think he is very overrated.


I like him, dont get me wrong...but Cincy fans are a little too ga-ga over his scrappiness.

I agree with Kurt Bevaqua (nice World Series homer back in '84, btw.) Come 2008, I would like to see Hamilton get the bulk of the time in center with Freel returning the super sub role, which he is extremely effective in.