Mike Freeman went to Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida. I, too, am from the Orlando area. I find this to be neat.
“Neat” is also the word I would use to describe Mike Freeman’s time with the Cleveland Indians. He hit .277/.362/.390 in 2019, though we all expected regression to the mean given his .388 BABIP. That came to pass during the plague-shortened 2020 season as he posted a .237/.302/.316 slashline while filling in at 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and LF during the year. He was worth 0.0 fWAR and -0.2 bWAR in these endeavors.
I have absolutely no issue with a replacement-level utility guy who can fill in at five positions when necessary. It’s neat. He’s neat.
Here’s a picture of him as gorilla while riding a rhinoceros, courtesy of site member Stale Lips:
This, too, is neat, although I do not understand it.
He elected for Free Agency this offseason and may or may not return to Cleveland. Given that he’s either slightly-better-than or exactly replacement level, I don’t have any logical strong feelings about it. On an emotional level, I kind of want him to come back.
There’s something about continuity in a sports team that feels wholesome, and that extends all the way down the bench. Mike Freeman provides a pinch of “grit” to the team and he seems like an Overall Good Dude. If you doubt that, here is evidence.
I think his Wins Above Replacement should be higher.— Mike Freeman (@MikeBFree5) September 22, 2020
His replacement. https://t.co/LPUocI2fx1
Here is more.
Still gives me nightmares. https://t.co/5kiYQOsppV— Mike Freeman (@MikeBFree5) July 30, 2020
Also, here is is getting a little bit philosophical about doubt, growth, and adversity, and how to reframe challenges and setbacks as opportunities on the Growth Project podcast.
Sure, the fact that a baseball player seems to be an All-Around Good Dude doesn’t justify his spot on a roster. The intangibles that come along with a player like Freeman might, though. We may never understand the value of being a good teammate well enough to account for it in advanced metrics, but you can tell when it is present.
If he moves on from Cleveland, I wish him the best. If he hangs around, I hope that ends up being for a couple more season, at least. Maybe longer: his mindset and approach to the game strike me as a the beginnings of a cornerstone for being a great mentor and coach.
I will leave you with Freeman’s best highlight from the 2020 season.
GRIT. UTILITY. NEAT.