Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman can make the argument for one of the most underappreciated players in the MLB and this season is a prime example.
Freeman has been one of the most consistent players in the league ever since he joined the Braves in 2010. He’s put together a career .295 batting average, and has totaled 238 homeruns and 853 RBIs in 1,397 career games.
Despite the 2020 season being a shortened season due to COVID-19, Freeman is putting up his best season yet. According to some, it’s still not enough to win him his first career MVP award.
I get it, Freeman isn’t as flashy of a player as Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., or even Mookie Betts, but he deserves to be considered in the running for the MVP race. He’s had great numbers all season long, but has really established himself in the MVP race in the last two weeks. In the last 15 games alone, Freeman has scored 15 runs, posted 26 hits, hit six homers, batted in 26 different runs, walked 11 times, and has only struck out five times in 58 at-bats.
The fact that he’s a first baseman doesn’t help him out much, considering it’s been 10 years since a first baseman won the award.
For those of you who are on the fence or undecided as to who you would vote for for NL MVP…..here are some numbers through 50 games, to help u out! pic.twitter.com/b53BIKKWf4
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) September 19, 2020
Chipper Jones shared this chart earlier today, making the argument for Freeman to win the MVP award. Jones obviously knows a thing or two considering he won the NL MVP award in 1999.
The chart below, shared by Fox Sports MLB, puts it the best. In seven different hitting categories, Freeman is either first or second in the NL.
Freddie Freeman's numbers this season are incredible 👏
Will he win the NL MVP award this year? pic.twitter.com/auV7TNBuk4
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 17, 2020
We are in a day and age where advanced statistics rule the game of baseball. Advanced statistics like WAR (Wins above replacement, basically the total value of a player to his team), adjusted OPS+, OBP+S, and many other metrics have a huge factor in determining the MVP winners.
Not only is Freeman at the top of those categories listed by Fox Sports MLB, but there are also 16 other statistics where Freeman finds himself top five in, totaling 23 different categories. 23 DIFFERENT CATEGORIES. That’s typically unheard of. It will be criminal if he doesn’t find himself winning the NL MVP at the end of the season.
Freeman leads the MLB in offensive WAR, OBP+S, Adjusted OPS+, runs created, adjusted batting runs, adjusted batting wins, extra-base hits, times on base, offensive win %, base-out runs added, and base-out wins added. He finds himself in the top five in the MLB in categories like WAR position players, batting average, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, RBIs, walks, intentional walks, win probability added, and situational wins added.
I know a number of these categories don’t make too much sense to the average fan, but a typical observer of the sport of baseball can glance at the statistic leaders of the MLB in 2020 and find Freeman at the top of nearly every single category.
The Braves find themselves sitting atop the NL East for the third consecutive season. They have a 30-21 record with just 10 games remaining in the shortened season. Freeman has been the key factor in the Braves’ recent success, and I’m sure they will continue to look for him to produce as the season comes to a close. The Marlins and Phillies are looking to make one last run at the NL East crown, but with the red-hot Freeman at the plate leading the Braves, it will be a tough feat.