Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning of game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

David Freese, Postseason Heroics and Jeff Mathis

It has been a few weeks since the Angels traded my homeboy, Peter Bourjos, to the Cardinals for David Freese. And this horse’s heart is still producing a pulse, I’m going to beat on it a little bit more to make sure that it is good and dead.

I came across an article on MLB.com’s Cut4 page about Freese and his heroics in the 2011 World Series. And, to be certain, heroics is what they were. The Cardinals were one strike away from going home empty handed when Freese lined a two-run triple over Nelson Cruz‘s head in the bottom of the ninth. He solidified his “October to remember” with a walk-off home run. Hollywood-type stuff.

The problem with relying on that small snapshot as your hope for future success is that you will be consistently disappointed with a player. I know, because I thought the same thing for Jeff Mathis.

In 2009, Jeff Mathis had a posteseason for the ages. He hit .533/.533/.867 over seven games in the 2009 playoffs. He did this:

He did call for this pitch against Alex Rodriguez, which was dumb. But, for a couple of weeks – a snapshot, so to speak – I was as confident seeing Jeff Mathis at the plate as I ever was at any time before or since.

It also doesn’t help that, since that 2011 postseason (and the 2012 NLDS where he hit .421/.500/.579), Freese’s postseason hitting has been, well, Mathisian.

2012 NLCS 7 27 26 2 5 2 0 1 2 1 7 .192 .222 .385 .607
2013 NLDS 5 18 16 1 3 0 0 1 4 2 4 .188 .278 .375 .653
2013 NLCS 6 22 21 2 4 1 0 0 0 1 5 .190 .227 .238 .465
2013 WS 6 22 19 0 3 1 0 0 0 3 7 .158 .273 .211 .483
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/14/2013.

That’s an awful lot of suck.

David Freese had a fantastic performance in the 2011 playoffs. He had a good season in 2012. He had an injury-marred 2013. Don’t let one small stretch of games (regardless of the stage they were on) be the barometer for a player’s future performance. Freese is not that player. He just calmed himself down and came through when his team needed it the most. Good for him. Bad for projections.

Dear Jerry Dipoto,

Please, do something today. Anything, really.


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Tags: David Freese Jeff Mathis Los Angeles Angels