The Atlanta Braves have arguably the best defensive shortstop in all of baseball in Andrelton Simmons. The slick-fielding 23-year-old leads MLB in Defensive Runs Saved with 39 in 2013, more than double Pedro Florimon, who is second among shortstops with 18.
However, Simmons is not the only 23-year-old in the Braves infield who is showing a knack defensively. First baseman Freddie Freeman, too, has quickly become one of the best young players at his position. Since his first full season in 2011, Freeman leads all first basemen with 230 Good Fielding Plays (GFPs).
A cornerstone for a first baseman is his ability to handle a difficult throw from a fellow infielder. Whether you choose to call it a scoop or a pick, Freeman again is the leader. Out of his 230 GFP’s, 128 of them have been considered “handling a difficult throw,” which are throws that first hit the dirt or are wide of the bag. To put that in perspective, only five other active first baseman have more than 90 (Carlos Pena, Eric Hosmer, Paul Goldschmidt and Adrian Gonzalez).
Over the same period, Freeman has made few negative plays. Net GFPs are accumulated by adding player errors to their defensive misplays (DM) and subtracting that number from the number of GFPs they have recorded. Freeman is second with 147 Net GFPs, behind only Goldschmidt’s 154.
You can’t pick your teammates, but Freeman can sure pick the bad throws his teammates throw his way.
ALL STATS AS OF August 29, 2013