ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves congratulate 1B Freddie Freeman on winning the 2020 National League Most Valuable Player award. Freeman received 28 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), finishing with 410 points, 142 more than runner-up Mookie Betts. Two writers in each league city cast ballots before the postseason. Votes were tabulated on a system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one point for 10th.
Freeman, 31, wins his first career MVP in his 11th major-league season. He previously finished in the top eight of voting four times, including as high as fourth in 2018. Freeman is the first Braves player to win this award since 1999, when Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones won his only career MVP. Prior to Jones, 3B Terry Pendleton (1991), OF Dale Murphy (1982, ’83), OF Hank Aaron (1957), 3B Bob Elliott (1947) and 2B Johnny Evers (1914) were the only Braves to be honored with an MVP. The BBWAA has awarded Major League Baseball’s MVP, one in each league, since 1931. When Evers received his recognition, MLB’s official MVP was known as the Chalmers Award.
A four-time All-Star, Freeman is the first player at his position to win this award since the Reds’ Joey Votto in 2010. Only two other first basemen have won N.L. MVP awards this century. St. Louis’ Albert Pujols was honored three times in a five-year span (2005, 2008-09), while Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard won in 2006.
The California native played in all 60 games and hit a career-best .341/.462/.640 (73-for-214), finishing second in the N.L. in each of those categories to Washington’s Juan Soto, who played 13 fewer games. Freeman led the league with 23 doubles, the most by an Atlanta-era player (since 1966) through the first 60 games of a season. He also paced the circuit in runs (51), extra-base hits (37), and had 3.4 fWAR, tied with Cleveland’s José Ramírez for the most in the major leagues. Freeman also hit 13 home runs and drove in 53, the second most in the N.L. to teammate Marcell Ozuna (56).
Freeman finished in the top four of the major leagues in runs, hits, doubles, RBI and walks (45), just the second player in baseball to accomplish that since 1920, when RBI became an official stat. The Yankees’ Lou Gehrig also did so in 1927, when he won his first of two career MVP awards.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder batted .423/.583/.885 (22-for-52) with runners in scoring position, placing either first or second in the majors in each of those categories. He hit his fifth career game-ending home run on September 25 vs. Boston in the 11th inning, after not starting the game. Freeman produced 2.7 Wins Probability Added (WPA), the second most in the N.L., trailing San Francisco’s Mike Yastrzemski (2.9).
After starting the season 8-for-41 (.195), Freeman was given a day off from the starting lineup on August 5. Since the following day, Freeman batted .378 (65-for-172) with a .490 on-base percentage over his final 47 games, striking out just 25 times.
In September, Freeman was named the National League Player of the Month after hitting .375/.496/.750 (36-for-96) with a major league-best 12 doubles and 26 extra-base hits. He had 32 RBI, one off the league lead held by Ozuna (33). Freeman also drove in 33 runs last June, and is the only player in Atlanta history to twice drive in 30 or more runs in a calendar month.
Freeman had a major league-best 33-game on-base streak this season, the second longest of his career. The stretch began on August 11 and lasted through September 18. Within that, he posted an 18-game hitting streak, the longest in the N.L. this season, and third longest of his career. From August 14-September 4, he hit .394 (26-for-66).
Freeman was also a Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger recipient this season, for the second consecutive year, and was recognized by the Major League Baseball Players Association, Baseball America and Baseball Digest as MLB’s Player of the Year.
Freeman has batted .295/.383/.509 (1,524-for-5,167) in his 11-year career. He ranks third in Braves history in doubles (342), fifth in on-base percentage (.383) and sixth in runs scored (849), home runs (240), RBI (858), extra-base hits (605) and total bases (2,632).