The #Braves announce first baseman Freddie Freeman underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery on Wednesday of this week. They removed three fragmented loose bodies and cleaned up multiple bone spur formations. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training.— Kelsey Wingert (@KelsWingert) October 18, 2019
In a move that was expected by many even before the playoffs began, Freddie Freeman had surgery on Wednesday to clean out his troublesome elbow. As seen above, the procedure seems to have eliminated any unnatural entities that could cause issue going forward. Freeman should be fully healthy for Spring Training, and the hope is that his elbow should be in good shape for years to come.
It is easy to see when the elbow began to cause issue by just looking at Freeman’s production as the 2019 season came to a close. Before September 1st, Freddie batted .299/.392/.571, along with a .396 wOBA and 144 wRC+, making a decent case to finish in the top 5 of NL MVP voting once again. However, after September 1st, Freeman batted .257/.364/.378, along with a .318 wOBA and 93 wRC+. His only home runs in September, and last home runs of the regular season, occurred when he hit two on September 1st (he added one in the playoffs in Game One of the NLDS).
It seems the injury popped up back on September 13th, when Freeman was removed from a game against the Washington Nationals. However, his lack of power in the nearly two weeks before that may indicate that he was feeling discomfort before then. The Braves and Freeman seemed to go back and forth about resting the injury for the rest of the season, as Freeman remained persistent with his intention to stay in the lineup.
Freeman did receive some good rest during the final week of the season, and right before the playoffs. Before the final series against the Mets and the playoff matchup with the Cardinals, he insisted his elbow felt fine. However, multiple occurrences of discomfort when swinging seemed to indicate Freeman was less than 100%. While Freddie adamantly denied his elbow was causing issue, his lack of production in the NLDS, including several missed opportunities to drive in runs, provided further proof that surgery was likely the best answer to correct the issue moving forward.
It goes without saying that Freeman not being able to perform at his full capacity to end the season and in the playoffs was extremely disappointing for the Braves and their fans. However, his comments after Game Five proved no one was more disappointed than him. While Freeman obviously was never going to let his ailment be an excuse for his poor play, it is obvious that it impacted him every time he played. Fortunately, it seems the Braves and Freeman agreed that a quick and successful surgery was the best action to take. Hopefully, the end result will be the version of Freeman we saw for the first five months of 2019, and one that will remain in tact to change the Braves’ postseason fortunes for the better next October.