Freddie Freeman’s magical 2016 season officially enters rarified air

AP Photo/John Bazemore

You don’t usually win Most Valuable Player awards when your team is dead-last in the National League, but in Freddie Freeman’s case, maybe he should be considered.

The Braves’ 27-year-old first baseman has put together a truly special year, one in which he has eclipsed the 30-home-run mark for the first time in his career. Freeman has also doubled more than 40 times this season and is just two shy of his career-best, 43, which he achieved in 2014.

According to Statmuse, there were only two other Braves in history to reach both of those milestones in a single season, and you might recognize the two names: Chipper Jones and Hank Aaron.

(Also read: One thing that stands out in the Braves’ 2017 schedule)

Let’s be honest – Freeman will not get serious consideration for the MVP because of the team he’s on. To that, I say: how much worse would this team have been without Freeman’s bat? It’s safe to say they’re easily a 100-loss team without him, but with just four more wins, they’ll clinch a loss total of fewer than 100 for the 2016 season.

And, believe it or not, the Braves actually have a winning record in September. At 9-8, Atlanta is on pace for its first winning month of the year.

You can give credit to guys like Matt Kemp and Dansby Swanson for making this team better, but at the end of the day, Freeman remains the anchor of the lineup. After starting the season with just a .251 batting average in the first two months, Freeman has surged, and Monday night, his batting average rose above .300 for the first time since Opening Day.

In September, Freeman is batting an astounding .403 (he’s hitting .533 in the last week), and his 17 RBI so far this month are more than he had in April and May combined.

The highest Freeman has ever finished in the MVP voting was fifth in 2013, and while he’s unlikely to get much love from the voters this season, it’s been a true pleasure watching the Braves’ first baseman hit the cover off the ball late this summer.

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