Freeman thriving with runners in scoring position

Freeman thriving with runners in scoring position

NEW YORK -- Jason Heyward has repeatedly said Freddie Freeman has been an "RBI hog" since the two began their professional careers together in 2007. Through this season's first two months, Freeman has simply legitimized this description.

"I don't know what the deal is when there is a guy in scoring position, I don't know if I concentrate harder or what the deal is," Freeman said. "But I want to get those guys in."

Freeman's power potential has provided him the opportunity to maximize run-producing opportunities in the manner he did with his two-run home run in the first inning of Friday's series opener against the Mets. But the Braves' first baseman has also shown the ability to simply make things happen like he did with the check-swing that produced the walk-off single in Tuesday's win over the Twins.

Despite missing two weeks in April with a strained oblique muscle, Freeman entered Sunday with a team-high 30 RBIs. This has been a product of the Major League-best .486 (17-for-35) batting average he had produced with runners in scoring position.

"I believe there are guys out there that when there are [run-producing situations], they get it done," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think [Miguel] Cabrera is one. I think Manny Ramirez in his heyday was one. Carlos Lee was one of those guys. For whatever reason, they step up their game. ... [Freeman] is a contact guy, which I believe you have to be to be that guy."

On the way to striking out 129 times during last year's injury-plagued season, Freeman struck out once every 4.81 plate appearance. He has improved to once every 5.59 plate appearances this season.

Through his first 35 games this year, Freeman has struck out once every 6.50 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. On the way to notching a career-high 94 RBIs last year, he struck out once every 5.68 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.