Freddie Freeman Probably Hasn't Had Much Fun This Year, But He Did Just Hit for the Cycle
It's doubtful that Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman has been having much fun this season. When you are the lone good player in a lineup with no protection, no power and no offensive punch whatsoever, it's hard to be as productive as you might want to be.
The entire Atlanta offense rests on Freeman's shoulders. And as the Braves rebuild around him, Freeman is stuck as the lone All-Star caliber offensive player on a team steaming for 100 losses in 2016.
But for one night, at least, Freddie Freeman had a little fun, becoming the first player this season to hit for the cycle.
.@FreddieFreeman5 becomes 7th Brave ever to hit for cycle, 1st since Mark Kotsay (8/14/08). https://t.co/5QMyKZoGKW pic.twitter.com/50epJl7rds
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) June 16, 2016
Freeman doubled in the third inning and then pulled off the most difficult part of a cycle, the triple, in the fourth.
Triples aren't really part of Freeman's game, either. As a lumbering first baseman, he has just 10 in his 815 career games. He then went yard in the sixth inning and finished off the rarity in extra innings, singling in the 11th.
Freeman became the seventh Brave to hit for the cycle, but only the third since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966. And he's the first Brave to do it since Mark Kotsay in August of 2008.
Kotsay's double to complete the cycle was the 1,500th hit of his career, by the way. Raise your hand if you knew Mark Kotsay was around long enough to amass 1,500 hits (he finished with 1,784!).
Freeman is the first player in the Majors to hit for the cycle since Matt Kemp did it last year for the Padres.
And as rare as hitting for the cycle is, it's even rarer for someone who plays first base for a living. According to MLB.com, the last player to play the majority of his games at first base to hit for the cycle was Aubrey Huff back in June of 2007.
Freeman has carried the Atlanta offense as best he can this year, hitting .257/.349/.461 with 11 homers, 22 RBIs and 31 runs scored. He has a weighted on base average (wOBA) of .342 and a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 115, and has hit seven home runs at Turner Field this season. The entire rest of the Braves roster has combined for eight dingers at home.
Only 10 Braves players have even gone yard this season, with Freeman leading the way with 11. The next closest Atlanta players are not exactly household names -- Mallex Smith, Tyler Flowers, and Adonis Garcia, each with three. And as a team, the Braves have hit 28 long balls all season, dead last in baseball. The next closest team are the Marlins, with 54. The Braves are also the only team with a collective isolated power (ISO) under .100 (.092).
We hear all the time about pitchers pitching no-hitters, but the cycle is just as rare an occurrence. There have been 251 no-hitters in baseball since 1900 and 268 instances of hitting for the cycle, but since the year 2000, cycles have become more commonplace than no-hitters, with 65 cycles and 42 no-nos.
That trend may be reversing a bit, with pitching becoming more dominant in recent seasons. Since 2014, there have been 13 no-hitters and 6 cycles.
You could say that the tendencies for hitting for the cycle and pitching a no-hitter are... cyclical.