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MLB Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Slugger Freddie Freeman Making Case for NL MVP

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has had a breakout year and with another blowout performance in Monday’s game, he’s making a case for the NL MVP.

Freeman hit in five RBIs against the New York Mets on Monday, notching his 18th home run and 24th double. By the third inning, the Braves were up 6-1 thanks to Freeman.

It never gets old and he never slows down. The whole season, it seems every time Freeman comes up to the plate, he does something awesome. I’m rarely disappointed with one of his at-bats.

With runners in scoring position Freeman is hitting for a .440/.540/.633 slash line. That’s incredible; I mean, how clutch can you get? When it comes to hitting, he does it all. He pulls balls, he hits the other way, he hits for singles and for power.

I’ve seen him hit balls that were out of the strike zone like it was nothing, as sometimes pitchers just can’t seem to stump him.

And what about his first pitch numbers? They’re off the wall. On the first pitch, Freeman is hitting .464/.459/.774. I don’t know why pitchers even throw him a strike on the first pitch — maybe it’s because they know he can hit balls too.

In the Miami Marlins game last week, Freeman hit a home run off the first pitch he saw from rookie phenom Jose Fernandez. In his next at-bat, he hit a double off Fernandez’s first pitch as well, prompting him to laugh and joke with Freeman about it.

In the third at-bat, Fernandez threw a low and away fastball, well out of the strike zone. It was far away, but it didn’t stop Freeman from putting a good swing on it. The ball went foul, but Freeman’s message was clear: he was bold and fearless.

It was fun to watch, Freeman’s friendly nature almost neutralizes his aggressive approach in the batter’s box, but he’s teaching pitchers better. In the field however, Freeman hasn’t received his due respect.

He’s had a gold glove caliber year, no doubt. Freeman is a lock at first, he makes great picks with decent range but more importantly, he almost never lets a ball get by him. With defensive phenom Andrelton Simmons at shortstop, Freeman has had to complete plays that would have never even been attempted by other infields.

He often does what’s becoming his signature split, completely laying out his 6-foot-5, 225-pound body to stretch for the ball.

Freeman may not be at the top of the leaderboards, but he’s on most of them and his defense sets him apart. Most importantly, he is the backbone of a first-place team and will be in the playoffs. Guys like Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks don’t have that on their resume.

Be on the lookout for Freeman in the postseason, if he does end up winning MVP, it’ll be in October when he really earns it.

Adam Krentz is an Atlanta Braves writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.

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