As strange as this season has been for Freddie Freeman, he is having another career year even off of a COVID-19 infection. Every time Braves fans think their first baseman can’t get any better, he manages to one-up himself.
As it stands, Freeman has a career-best .329 BA, .449 OPB, .599 SLG, and 1.047 OPS. It’s possible that these numbers aren’t sustainable over a full 162-game season, but it appears he’s well on his way to inserting himself into another MVP conversation.
After hitting his first career Grand Slam in ten years in the majors last week against the Nationals, Freeman waited just two games to mash the next one. He has been truly amazing, and his career may very well land him in Cooperstown if he stays as consistent as he has been.
In 2018, Freeman finished 4th in the MVP voting after leading the majors in hits & doubles with 191 & 44, respectively. He’s already racked up 15 two-baggers in 2020, which would put him on pace to blow past that.
Averaged out of 162 games, Freeman’s numbers are absurd. Dividing 162/43 (the amount of games the Braves have played thus far), you get 3.7 — that is the number I’ll use to calculate what a 162-game season could look like for Freddie.
Freddie Freeman 2020 (Through 9/10):
152 ABs, 50 Hits, 15 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 31 BB
Freddie Freeman Projected 2020 (162 Games):
562 AB, 185 Hits, 56 2B, 4 3B, 28 HR, 141 RBI, 115 BB
Freeman would roughly post a 1.039 OPS at this pace, but his RBI, walk, & double numbers are staggering. Putting up stats like this would usually win a guy the MVP over 162 games, so why does it feel like Freeman is being overlooked? Freddie currently sits 1st in OPS (NL), 2nd in Doubles (MLB), 2nd in OBP (MLB), 2nd in RBI (NL), and 7th in Offensive WAR (NL). As impressive as these numbers are, though, Freeman will probably finish 3rd at best in the MVP race.
I love Fernando Tatis Jr. As of today, he deserves the award. His OPS is on par with Freeman’s while hitting seven more HRs. He currently leads (or has a share of the lead) the league in hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, and total bases. He’s also chipped in eight steals — tied for 4th in the majors.
Tatis is as electric as they come and will be a star in this league for years, but Mookie Betts will give him a run for his money. Betts has already won the award in the AL with Boston, but his .994 OPS and 14 HRs are not quite on Tatis’ level. That doesn’t mean it cannot change over the next few weeks.
When it comes down to it, chicks (and voters) did the long ball. Freeman would have to go on an astronomical tear to catch up to these guys — a few more 29 run performances would help. With only 17 games left, this isn’t likely to be the year Freddie breaks through and wins MVP. He’s been so amazing, and maybe things would be different over 162 games, but he will yet again be overlooked and underappreciated outside of Atlanta.