Number 2: Freddie Freeman
Remember when Atlanta had a player who had the potential to be one of the greatest Braves in history? Remember when Jason Heyward’s first MLB bat went for a home run and the fans went crazy? Well, Freddie Freeman has become what everyone expected Jason Heyward to be, and then some. I’ll throw out the obvious, which is that Freeman will probably retire as a Brave. How he has solidified first base has done wonders for Atlanta, and he can be depended on in any situation.
Freeman has gotten off to a solid start in the 2015 campaign. He has been on the DL and missed the past 19 games to due a wrist injury, but the Braves and him are probably being cautious. Freeman is only 25 years old, and even though he has missed all of these games, he still leads the Braves in home runs at 12. It’s not like there are questions regarding his durability, as Freeman had played in 234 straight games before the wrist injury. He started every game in 2014 (162).
In early February 2014, the Braves and Freeman agreed to an 8 year deal worth $135 million. That means the Braves have basically told Freeman that he is the future for them. It was the largest deal in franchise history, in both years and money. It’s a gamble the Braves were willing to take, and I am all for the deal. Sign him while he’s young and let him play all these years in Turner Field and SunTrust Park. Heck, he had just come off a season in which he finished 5th in MVP voting.
Freeman is a power hitter, but he also is smart when he needs to just put the ball in play. In the past three seasons, his batting average has been above .280. Freeman currently is at .299, and maybe he can hit over .300 this year. Hitting .300 in two out of the past three years would be a big accomplishment, as power hitters are not known to hit that well. Not only has his hitting been great, but his fielding is starting to become better and better each season. In 2014, he only committed 5 errors in the 162 games he appeared in. That is pretty incredible to say the least, and expect Freeman to only up his play at first base.
If you haven’t noticed by how this list has gone, I am big on guy’s personalities. With Freeman, how can you not love the way he plays the game? He is the guy that will lighten his teammates up. Freeman gives out his well-known hugs, which everyone in the MLB has seen. Having a winning attitude is what I love to see in competitors, and Freeman has that. Durability is also a reason Freeman made high on this list. 162 games is a ton, and you don’t see players nowadays surviving the 162 game stretch, but Freeman somehow can do it. Even though he is currently on the DL, expect his game to be back to normal whenever he comes back.
5. Shelby Miller – http://www.sportstalkatl.com/top-five-current-atlanta-pro-athletes-number-5/
4. Al Horford – http://www.sportstalkatl.com/top-five-current-atlanta-pro-athletes-number-4/
3. Matt Ryan – http://www.sportstalkatl.com/top-five-current-atlanta-professional-athletes-number-3/