Freddie Freeman striving for understated (and near-impossible) milestone in 2024

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Masterpress/GettyImages

We've heard a lot about the Dodgers' 1-2-3 — Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman — as a unit that's already showing pitchers exactly how scary they'll be during the regular season. We've heard a lot about Betts, the Dodgers' biggest fan, and Ohtani, their $700 million man. Freeman is an essential piece at the top of the lineup, but he's been quieter than Betts and has had fewer eyes on him than Ohtani. He's seemed content just to do his job and do it well.

That's always seemed to be the way with Freeman, who has been consistently excellent throughout his career and is also just known as an all-around nice, humble guy and great teammate. He's leading all Dodgers hitters in RBI in spring training, with 11, and hit a grand slam against the White Sox on Wednesday night for his second home run of spring. Between feats on the field, he's also making sure that the new Dodgers hit celebration sticks and giving his son Charlie reps at first base.

So it makes sense that Freeman's main ambition for the 2024 season is both sort of understated and almost impossible at the same time. He told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he wants to strike out fewer than 100 times this year (subscription required).

Dodgers' Freddie Freeman wants to strike out less than 100 times during 2024 season

Freeman got very close to that less-than-100 mark in 2022, his first year with the Dodgers, when he struck out 102 times (and collected almost 200 hits with 21 home runs and 100 RBI). He had a 16.6% K/9 rate last season, which put him the 83rd percentile of all batters, and he was at 14.4% and the 90th percentile in 2022. He only missed four games over the last two years, so his relatively low strikeout numbers are already impressive.

He also told Rosenthal that he wants to play in all 162 games — something only four players did last year — and "have Doc (manager Dave Roberts) not worry about me," which is just about the most Freddie Freeman, team-first answer he could've given. Given his track record, it's probably not a stretch to say that he's never been cause for a manager to worry, especially not since he became a Dodger. Freeman is eternally dependable, and that's what we love about him.