Cleveland Guardians: Better days lie ahead for Tyler Freeman

On the surface, Tyler Freeman has gotten off to a slow start, but things should start looking up for the Cleveland Guardians center fielder.
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians / Mike Lawrie/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians offense is off to a hot start, having scored the ninth-most runs in baseball to this point. And hey, they're 21st in home runs!

Much of the lineup is enjoying a solid run, though current center fielder Tyler Freeman has struggled somewhat, slashing .200/.256/.314 with one home run, six RBI, and a 65 OPS+. Small sample size argument aside, there really should be better days ahead for Freeman, and here's why.

Why the Guardians Need to Stick With Tyler Freeman

In looking at Freeman's Statcast profile, there is a lot that remains promising. For starters, Freeman has an xBA of .272, which suggests he's been pretty unlucky to this point. The xBA isn't always gospel, but it helps to suggest Freeman should have some of these hits falling soon (we were saying the same thing last season with Josh Naylor ahead of his breakout too).

Freeman is also hitting the ball with more authority this season, with a 7% barrel rate, up from 3.2% a year ago. His hard-hit rate of 50% is up substantially as well.

Eventually, the underlying expected statistics do need to result in actual production. But for right now, Freman is making good contact and holding his own in the chase rate and whiff rate departments. There just aren't many better options in center at the moment - sorry, Estevan Florial and Ramón Laureano - so Freeman should continue to get plenty of at-bats.

If he can just improve his numbers against righties - he's currently hitting just .179/.200/.286 against right-handed pitching - he'll be in good shape moving forward.