The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has awarded the 2020 National League Most Valuable Player to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. He beat out fellow finalists Mookie Betts and Manny Machado for the award.
The summer began in brutal fashion for Freeman, who tested positive for COVID-19 in early July. Freeman was in such bad condition that teammate Nick Markakis decided to opt out of the season. However, Markakis quickly elected to return, and Freeman was able to regain his health by the start of the regular season.
From a production standpoint, 2020 couldn’t have gone much better for the 31-year-old Freeman, who has consistently been a fantastic player since his first full season in 2011. Freeman earned MVP honors thanks largely to a career-best .341/.462/.640 line and 13 home runs in 262 trips to the plate, helping the Braves to their third straight NL East title (though they bowed out to the Dodgers in the NLCS). He wound up first in the NL in fWAR (3.4), and second in batting average, wRC+ (187) and bWAR (2.9).
It was a landslide victory for Freeman, who collected 28 of 30 first-place votes in this year’s balloting. Betts received the other two, but he’s at least temporarily denied of becoming the first player to win the MVP in two leagues since Frank Robinson. The rest of the top five consisted of the left side of the Padres’ infield (Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.) and Nationals outfielder Juan Soto.