5 things to know about Freddie Freeman’s sizzling offense

Credit: Kevin C. Cox

Credit: Kevin C. Cox

Five things to know about Braves slugger Freddie Freeman, who is once again off to sizzling start at the plate while batting third for the majors’ surprising highest-scoring offense through the first week-plus of the 2018 season.

1. A year ago, the first baseman was hitting at an MVP-caliber pace before his left wrist was broken by a fastball May 17. Freeman is doing it again this season. He's seeing fewer pitches to hit without the likes of Matt Kemp hitting behind him, but Freeman has been disciplined, taking his walks and being ready to pounce and take advantage whenever pitchers make a mistake to him or are forced to give him something to throw him strikes in certain situations.

2. Freeman entered Saturday night's game at Colorado with a majors-leading .618 on-base percentage that was nearly 100 points higher than the next-best (Washington's Adam Eaton, .520). Freeman's 1.436 OPS led the National League and was second in the majors, and he was tied for seventh in the majors in batting average (.409), tied for fifth in slugging percentage (.818), tied with Eaton for the lead in runs scored (10) and tied for second in RBIs (10).

3. He drew two more walks in Friday's series opener at Colorado to raise his majors-leading total to 12 walks (with only three strikeouts) in seven games, the most walks in the first seven games in franchise history since at least 1908, and the most by any major leaguer through the first seven games since Sammy Sosa had 12 in 2003. Freeman's single-season high walks total was 90 in 2014, and the all-time franchise record is 131 by Bob Elliott in 1948.

4. He reached base multiple times in all of the first seven games before Saturday, tied for the longest such streak to open a season in Atlanta-era Braves history. Jerry Royster did it in the first seven games in 1978. The last Braves player to reach base multiple times in more games to start the season was Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews, who did it in the first 14 games for the Milwaukee Braves in 1963.

5. His career numbers in April are his best overall for any month: .301 average, .385 OBP, .534 slugging percentage and .919 OPS in 158 games (668 plate appearances), with 41 doubles, three triples, 31 homers, 92 RBIs, 75 walks and 141 strikeouts. Those were his highest home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS in any month, despite the 158 games in April being the second-fewest he played in any of the six full months of the season (April-September).

Bonus:The Braves led the majors with a .443 average with runners in scoring position before Saturday, and Freeman individually was a majors-best 7-for-8 in those situations with two home runs, 10 RBIs, two walks (both intentional) and no strikeouts. Among players with at least three at-bats with RISP, Freeman led the majors in average, OBP (.900) and slugging percentage (1.750).