5 Individual Awards the Atlanta Braves Deserve to Receive

1 of 6

5 Individual Awards the Atlanta Braves Deserve to Receive

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves have the best record in MLB at 88-58, but they also have some of the top individual players in the game as well.

They have the best team and bullpen ERAs in the majors, with the latter being led by right-handers Craig Kimbrel, David Carpenter, Anthony Varvaro, Luis Ayala and Jordan Walden and left-handers Scott Downs and Luis Avilan. The trio of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen making up a solid top of the rotation.

They have one of the National League's premier hitters, as third baseman Chris Johnson began hitting early and often and hasn't slowed down at all, totaling 153 hits in 128 games for a .330 batting average that places him just four points behind Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who currently leads the NL with a .334 mark.

They have some of the game's top bench players, which has allowed them to rest their starters on a regular basis and adequately deal with the many injuries they've dealt with throughout the season. Evan Gattis, Jordan Schafer, Elliot Johnson and Joey Terdoslavich are just a few of the guys who have played well off the pine at a variety of different positions.

But that's barely scratching the surface of baseball's best team, which has several players who are deserving of winning individual crowns for what they have done this season, including the National League Rookie of the Year Award — the Braves possess two great rookies in Teheran and Gattis — which I'm not going to discuss because I feel that Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez is the prohibitive favorite, and rightly so.

Here's a look at five individual awards the Braves deserve to receive.

2 of 6

5. Freddie Freeman Deserves to Win the NL Most Valuable Player Award

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

When you take into account the fact that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has batted .309 with 20 home runs, 98 RBIs and a .384 on-base percentage — which all rank near the top of the NL leaderboard — despite an early-season stint on the disabled list due to a strained oblique, it is quite clear that his play has been MVP-worthy. In addition, he has been the most consistent hitter in Atlanta's lineup and one of its clubhouse leaders, which only furthers his candidacy.

3 of 6

4. Craig Kimbrel Deserves to Win the NL Cy Young Award

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I usually reserve my considerations for the Cy Young Award for the best starters in each league — as do many others — but when a reliever like Kimbrel comes along, you just have to stop and gawk at his absolutely remarkable numbers, which include 46 saves in 49 opportunities, an 0.91 ERA and 87 strikeouts against just 17 walks in 59.2 innings. Given that the NL likely won't see a 20-game winner this year, "Killer Craig" should take the honors.

4 of 6

3. Andrelton Simmons Deserves to Win a NL Gold Glove Award

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Ask anyone who the top defensive shortstop in baseball is and most people will say the Braves' Andrelton Simmons, who many believe to be the best defender at the position since Ozzie Smith was diving and flipping all over the infield for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s and 90s. While Simmons has committed 10 errors this season, he has a fielding percentage of .985, which is second among shortstops behind only Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, who has played in 33 less games and has had 170 less total chances.

5 of 6

2. Freeman Deserves to Win a NL Gold Glove Award

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Ask any Braves infielder — including Simmons — who has saved perhaps more high or low throws than any first baseman in the league, and they will unwaveringly tell you it's Freeman. The 24-year-old has made just nine errors in 1,213 total chances this year, good for a fielding percentage of .993.

6 of 6

1. Fredi Gonzalez Deserves to Win the NL Manager of the Year Award

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

With everything Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has had to deal with — not the least of which is a fan base that oftentimes criticizes him for the decisions that he makes — it's nothing short of a miracle that he has his club at the top of the heap. It also isn't luck, because you don't get lucky this often. Gonzalez is deserving of this award, and all the haters just need to deal with it.

Around the Web