Freddie Freeman is not only the best first baseman in baseball; he’s also the best hype man for his teammates. Over the weekend, as players piled into the Braves’ new spring training facility ready for the 2020 season, Freeman made a couple of predictions regarding Ronald Acuña and the newly acquired Marcell Ozuna.
Beginning with the former, Freeman watched his 22-year-old teammate effortlessly lift balls way over the outfield in batting practice. He then proceeded to say, “He’s gonna win MVP this year.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. in the batting cage. Freddie Freeman watched him and said to a reporter, “He’s gonna win MVP this year.” pic.twitter.com/SOVKmlIIaG
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) February 16, 2020
Of course, Acuña finished just three steals shy of becoming the fifth player in MLB history to join the 40-40 club, and easily the youngest to ever accomplish the feat. He was later voted fifth in the MVP race, even after scuffling severely to end the season. Had Acuña finished 2019 on a high note, he might have been seriously considered for the award. But 40-40 isn’t the goal for him in 2020. According to his best friend and teammate, Ozzie Albies, Acuña has his sights set on becoming the first player ever to have a 50-50 season. If he’s able to accomplish that, there’s no way he won’t take home the award nine months from now.
Freeman also had some kind things to say about Marcell Ozuna, who helped the Cardinals knock the Braves out of the playoffs last season. As Atlanta’s new left fielder launched balls into the stratosphere, Freeman commented, “36 of those coming this year,” talking about home runs.
Much like Donaldson did a year ago, Ozuna bet on himself, settling for a one-year, $18 million contract with the hope that he can cash in next winter. If he hits 36 bombs, which is one off his career-high, his decision to take a “prove-it” contract will be viewed as an extremely wise one.
— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) February 16, 2020