For the first time in more than two decades, the Atlanta Braves have the National League's Most Valuable Player. Freddie Freeman joined Dale Murphy (1982, 1983), Terry Pendleton (1991) and Chipper Jones (1999) on Thursday night as the only players to win the award since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966.
Freeman's 60-game campaign saw him hit .341/.462/.640 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI — the latter two would correspond to 35 homers and 143 RBI over 162 games. Obviously we'll never know if those numbers would have kept up at the same pace over the course of a full season — and in all likelihood, they would have fallen off a little — but all we have to go on is the data as it exists. So just to humor myself, I looked up how many players had ever had a season with Freeman's slash line and at least 35 home runs and 143 RBI.
Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams and Todd Helton. That's it. And again, Freeman might have slumped off those numbers a little bit, but we'll never know. He may have gone on a 20-game tear and improved upon them, too. We just don't know.
As far as I'm concerned, Freddie Freeman's 2020 season is one of the best we've seen in the history of baseball. And now he has the National League MVP award to show for it.
I'd obviously be happy if any Braves player won the MVP, but it's so cool to see Freddie get one. He's been, for my money, the most underrated player in professional sports for the last five years or so and is just an awesome dude on top of all that he does on the field. It's really great to see all that he's done in his career lead to a season where he finally got the ultimate recognition he deserves.
And I've actually been pleased to have not really seen anybody talking about the 60-game thing with the other awards being announced. The season was what it was. Anybody who won an MVP, Cy Young or whatever other award it was earned it playing the same number of games as everybody else.
So congrats, Freddie. With Freeman still in the prime of his career and Ronald Acuña Jr. ready to take his game to the next level, I'd imagine the Braves won't have to wait another 21 years for their next MVP.