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Freeman is a bargain
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There were 15 hitters last season who performed well enough to be a member of the 90 runs scored, 90 RBI club. Most of the names are players you would expect - Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Robinson Cano. Guys who will be gone in the first five picks of the first round in almost every fantasy draft.

In fact, of the 15 club members from last season, half will be gone by pick No. 25.

But today I want to talk about the best bargain in the group - Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Based on his current ADP (Average Draft Position) fantasy owners don't believe in the Braves' slugger. Why else would he have an ADP of 82, meaning he's going in the seventh round of most fantasy drafts?

Some of the blame may go to pre-conceived attitudes.

The 23-year-old already has two full seasons on his resume and many fantasy owners likely think they know him. He's not flashy. He's not going to mash 40 homers. He's certainly not fast with just two stolen bases last year and six for his career. He is going to strike out about 130 times and hit around .275.

But what he does do is make his at-bats count.

In 540 at-bats last season he scored 91 runs, hit 23 homers and knocked in 94 runs. He led the league in just one category - sacrifice flies which is not an exciting category, but a valuable one.

And he's out there almost every day. He's averaged 152 games per over the past two seasons.

He'll be in the middle of the Braves "new and improved" lineup. It's one that won't include Chipper Jones for the first time in 20 years, or Michael Bourn, but will include brothers B.J. and Justin Upton and youngster Andrelton Simmons as the new leadoff hitter.

Freeman will likely move up to bat in the fourth spot. In this Atlanta lineup that should result in him coming up with men on base more often than not. That's a good thing as he was a better hitter with men on (.838 OPS), than with the bases empty (.755).

And though most of you know I rarely use spring training statistics to prove any point, Freeman seems to be ready after the best exhibition season of his career. He's currently batting .327 with five homers and 11 RBi in just 55 at- bats.

As a fantasy owner how can you go wrong with one of last year's top-15 producers, who figures to be in a better spot in a better lineup for 2013?

For the low price of a seventh-round pick, I can't think of any good reasons not to have him on my roster.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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