2011 postseason star David Freese carried his start into 2012. By May 1st, Freese was hitting a robust .333 with 5 homers, slugging at a .560 clip. Then May came. His average is down to .259 and his OPS has dropped down below .800 (Middle infielders Jose Altuve and Omar Infante have a higher OPS as does catcher A.J. Ellis) What has happened to David Freese?
For starters, some of it may not be his own fault. When you lose guys like Lance Berkman, Jon Jay, Allen Craig and now Matt Carpenter around you, and with Carlos Beltran being in and out of the lineup, the quality of pitches you are going to see aren’t going to be as good. If Freese is hitting ahead of Matt Adams, in a big spot or really anytime at all during the game. Not everyone is going to be David Wright and hit .400 with not a lot of big bats around you, but Freese could benefit from guys getting back to the lineup and giving him some protection.
Freese is also not helping himself either. While his walk percentage is up from last year, his strikeout percentage is as well, striking out almost a quarter of the time he steps into the box. Freese is better when he’s hitting line drives and not trying to swing for the fences. His fly ball percentage is up over 11 percent from what it was last year, while his hitting line drives almost five percent less. It’s better for him and the Cardinals if he can concentrate on hitting line drives and driving runs in instead of elevating the ball so much.
I don’t think Freese will stay this cold all season long. Freese has proven he’s a good player. He may just be one of those guys that when he’s on fire he’s an all-star and when he’s cold he’s a replacement level player. He also has never played a full season in the big leagues yet either, so he might be adjusting to playing more, and the pitchers may be adjusting to him. All in all I believe Freese will straighten himself out. If he doesn’t, combined with all the injuries the Cardinals have, look out.