Batman’s Two Seasons
Over the past few years, Cardinal fans have come to know David Freese by the moniker “Batman”. No, he does not wear a cape and a utility belt, fighting crime in the streets in whatever dream machine you could conjure up for him to drive, he simply produces at the plate in key (see: clutch) situations. That is, when he is healthy.
You see, when we examine a player and talk about his two seasons, especially a young player like David Freese who is experiencing his second season with substantial time on the major league roster, you would assume we would be talking about 2010 and 2011. With Freese, however, we can talk about his two season without leaving the confines of the current calender year.
The oft-injured yet highly productive third baseman for the Cardinals enjoyed a positive start to his year after recovering from multiple injuries that cut 2010 short. He opened the season with the Cardinals and would remain active in the lineup from March 31 all the way until May 1 before that injury bug would jump up and bite him again.
In that time frame though, he put together quite the impressive numbers. Over a course of 25 games played, Freese would post a .356 batting average, a .394 on base percentage, .471 slugging percentage, four doubles, two home runs, and fourteen runs batted in. In a lineup that featured Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and a surprisingly productive Lance Berkman, Freese had become one of the top number six hitters in the game and Cardinal fans had something to cheer about.
A pitch up and in (Tony LaRussa loves those) caught the Cardinal third baseman on the hand on May 1, x-rays would show a fracture, and David would be gone from the lineup for almost two months.
His return to the lineup on June 28th in Baltimore had fans a buzz and ready for the return of a potent bat to the lineup. Getting that potent bat back up to speed would take a while, however.
He would log a run batted in on the very next day before entering a hefty drought that would see him not drive another run in until July 10. During that eleven game span, Freese would only have one extra base hit, a double on June 30, and would watch his season average drop from .363 down to .328.
It is hard to keep a good bat down, however, and July 10 would not only see his first home run since his return from the disabled list, but it would also see him log three runs batted in, the fourth time in 2011 that he would post a three rbi game.
Since his return from the disabled list, Freese has appeared in 36 games and posted a .286 batting average, a .344 on base percentage, .445 slugging percentage, four doubles, five home runs, and 18 runs batted in. The Cardinals continue to get production from the heart of their order and Freese has been a stable part of that as Holliday has battled through minor ailments and Berkman has rested from time to time.
The “Batman” is a key part to the Cardinals success, both in 2011 and beyond, but only if he can figure out how to stay on the field the majority of the time. His production speaks for itself, unfortunately, so does his injuries.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
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