Braves: Handing out postseason MVP awards

dkb211011026 mil vs atl

The Braves are your 2021 World Series champions. Damn, that feels surreal to say, but the city of Atlanta finally has something they can hang their hat on. Throughout the playoffs, there were heroes. Every game, a different player stepped up. It’s been like that ever since the trade deadline, making the postseason MVPs that much tougher to decide, but I think I found the two guys who fit the description the best.

Offensive MVP

Freddie Freeman

In the NLDS, it was Joc Pederson. In the NLCS, it was Eddie Rosario. In the World Series, it was Jorge Soler. The trade deadline acquisitions are why the Braves held up the Commissioner’s Trophy last night, so perhaps Alex Anthopoulos deserves this nomination. But since I can’t give it to the Braves general manager, I’m going with the guy who was the most consistent throughout the postseason.

Freddie Freeman had a .471 OBP in the NLDS, including the go-ahead, series-clinching home run off Josh Hader in the ninth inning. Freeman then bounced back from seven straight strikeouts to begin the NLCS to record a .444 OBP, including two critical homers. Then Freeman delivered again in the World Series with a .360 OBP and two more homers, tying him with Fred McGriff for the most home runs in a single postseason in franchise history. And people were telling me this guy can’t perform in the playoffs…

Pitching MVP

Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and Charlie Morton were supposed to carry the load for the Braves this postseason, but none of them turned out to be the most valuable arm on the Braves staff. That title belongs to Tyler “nutsack” Matzek.

Yes, the Braves seriously refer to the former Independent League pitcher as “Nutsack” because of how well he performs with all the chips on the line, and that was on full display in the playoffs.

Matzek was perfect in the NLDS, holding the Brewers scoreless over 4.1 innings of work while striking out six. He did give up a couple of runs to the Dodgers in the NLCS. However, those were runners he left on base for Luke Jackson with two outs, who could not pick him up. In reality, he was as perfect as it gets again, and he came up with arguably the most significant moment of the Braves postseason run.

In the seventh inning of Game 6, up two runs with nobody out and runners on second and third, Matzek came in and struck out three batters in a row, including Mookie Betts to end the inning on three straight pitches. It was absolutely electric, and a moment Braves fans will never forget.

Matzek came through again in the World Series for the Braves, allowing just one run over 5.1 innings while striking out seven. He finished the postseason with a minuscule 1.72 ERA over 15.2 high leverage innings, and his 0.87 FIP suggests he was even unlucky. There’s no questioning who the MVP of Atlanta’s pitching staff was during these playoffs. Although, I have to give an honorary mention to Will Smith, who had six saves and didn’t allow a run over 11 innings of work.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: