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Ozuna claims NL HR title; MVFree to come?

@mlbbowman
September 27, 2020

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman completed construction of his National League MVP Award resume, and Marcell Ozuna solidified his spot as the NL leader in home runs as the Braves concluded the regular season with a 9-1 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon at Truist Park. This was a

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman completed construction of his National League MVP Award resume, and Marcell Ozuna solidified his spot as the NL leader in home runs as the Braves concluded the regular season with a 9-1 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon at Truist Park.

This was a day of preparation for the Braves, who will begin the Wild Card Series against the Reds at home on Wednesday. But it was also a day for Freeman and Ozuna to put the finishing touches on their tremendous seasons.

“You look at the numbers and you think, why couldn’t there be a co-MVP for those two guys,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said before the game. “They are certainly deserving of the award.”

Box score

While Freeman is much more likely to win the NL MVP Award between the two, Ozuna will always fondly remember this season. His 468-foot solo shot in the first inning off Nick Pivetta gave him a National League-best 18 home runs. The last Braves player to lead the NL in homers was Andruw Jones, who hit a franchise-record 51 homers in 2005.

Ozuna entered the day with an outside shot at becoming the first NL player since Joe Medwick in 1937 to win the Triple Crown. Ozuna ended up leading the league in both home runs and RBIs, but his .338 batting average ranked third, behind Juan Soto (.351) and Freeman (.341).

Freeman entered the day leading the Majors with a 3.4 fWAR (Fangraphs’ WAR Model) and ranking second with 190 weighted runs created plus (wRC+). He went 1-for-5 in the finale to finish with a 1.102 OPS.

“There have been some crazy good seasons from some of our guys,” Snitker said. “Freddie and Marcell have just been on another planet. You go to look at the National League’s statistical leaders, and their names are everywhere up at the top.”

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.