Freddie Freeman (Atl All Day)
The Atlanta Braves sit atop the NL East division at 48-34 (best record in NL), being 3 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and 6 games above the Washington Nationals. Atlanta, most recently completing a sweep in St. Louis will next head to New York to face the Yankees, and then to Milwaukee for a 4 game series against them and look to continue their success.
So that brings me to my question, with all the success from this young Braves team, Atlanta should have a contender for NL MVP, right?
That’s right, they sure do have a contender, and maybe even the front-runner…Freddie Freeman!
Freddie Freeman is the 28-year-old veteran on the Atlanta Braves team that consists of many players 20-25 years old such as Ronald Acuña Jr, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Mike Soroka, and others. Some say Freeman is the quiet guy in the locker room, but when the team is on the field, Freddie knows how to show the guys a thing or two.
So yes Freeman is currently on the best team in the NL as far as records go, but that doesn’t mean he’s a shoe-in for MVP. If that was the case we could also give the NL MVP award to Nick Markakis who is more than likely to make his first-ever All-Star appearance this season, and also start the game.
Freeman is putting up historic numbers the Atlanta Braves haven’t seen since Chipper’s MVP season in 1999, and the numbers are almost identical. Below I have attached an image comparing Chipper’s MVP season to Freeman’s season this year, both through the first 81 games of the season:Chipper/Freddie (Zach Dillard)
As you can see the numbers are almost the exact same, probably the most impressive stat being Freddie is still hitting .316 (4th in NL) and it’s already July. Freeman’s 365 plate appearances also rank 4th in the NL while his OBP (On Base Percentage) is 1st in the NL.
Freeman isn’t hitting a ton of home runs this season, but 16 (with a dinger against St. Louis last night) is nothing to sneeze at, is tied 8th in the NL for homers. Freeman also ranks 5th in both slugging percentage and extra base hits in the NL. His strikeout percentage is a little higher than what Chipper’s was, but it’s nothing to be concerned about with as smart of a hitter as we all know Freddie is.
I thought there were some interesting numbers not shown in the picture as well:
Freeman is 4th in WAR (wins above replacement) at 3.2 among NL position players, and he’s also 3rd in offensive WAR (3.1). Also after making a case for MVP last season before missing months of action, Freeman has been in the lineup all 82 games so far this season. Freeman’s 100 hits this season are 3rd in the NL, only 4 behind NL leader and teammate Nick Markakis. Freeman’s homers and great batting average have helped him climb to 3rd in total bases at 173.
Also, a couple interesting stats that not many people know, he leads the NL in Base-Out Wins Added (REW) at 3.4, Offensive Win % (.771), and also Runs Created with 74.
As we can see Freeman is almost top 5 in every offensive NL category this season, helping him make a strong case for NL MVP. It’s also cool to see a lot of the stats where Freeman is 3rd or 4th, there is almost always another Brave ahead of him whether it’s Albies or Markakis, who are both having excellent seasons as well.
Sitting on July 2nd, we see Freeman as the #1 vote getter as an NL All-Star so far, and also a top 5 candidate for NL MVP. If the Braves continue their winning ways, and Freeman continues to be the amazing “veteran” on this young team, it would be very hard to not consider him the MVP of the National League.