Cubs’ Rizzo Over Atlanta Braves’ Freeman? Why?
It wasn’t just Rizzo, either.
Paul Goldschmidt was ranked even higher: 13th? But he was worse in 2016 than either Freeman or Rizzo. In fact, the only stat that he had any significant advantage in was stolen bases… and given how the DBacks played last year… who cares?
Meanwhile Joey Votto was ranked 10th… making Freeman only the 4th best first baseman in the National League… in the minds of the MLB Network.
I guess that ‘MLB’ stands for ‘Must Loathe Braves’.
Why Do We Care?
After the 2016 season was complete, Anthony Rizzo won the Silver Slugger Award for NL first basemen, got more of the NL MVP share than Freddie Freeman did, and then was ranked above Freddie on the top 100 current players list.
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At the end of the day, awards probably don’t mean all that much. Freddie Freeman has, in all likelihood, lost a total of zero winks of sleep because he was ranked two spots behind Anthony Rizzo in MLB Network’s most recent top 100 list.
However, as fans of the Braves, we would like to see our players get recognized for their accomplishments, especially when they are deserving of said recognition.
Furthermore, just as fans of baseball, the award process should be a fair process that recognizes players based on their performance and not their popularity.
This is going to be a continually developing motif in Major League Baseball. Freeman and Rizzo are two of the best first basemen in the NL and there’s only one All-Star starting spot, one NL Silver Slugger Award, one MVP trophy, etc. to go around each season.