Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel: Holding Their Own as Braves' Rookies

Zack VanceContributor IIJuly 13, 2011

ATLANTA - JULY 4:  Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on July 4, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Freddie Freeman and All-Star reliever Craig Kimbrel are coming together very well in their first year in the league with the Atlanta Braves.

Freeman is second in hits and RBIs among all rookies in the majors during the first half of the season, trailing only Washington Nationals' Danny Espinosa. He knocked out four homers and drove in seven runs for the Atlanta Braves in their four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies prior to the All-Star break.

Along with offense, the first baseman does his work on the defense of side as well with a .994 fielding percentage and saving numerous errant throws. Standing 6' 5'' and weighing 225 lbs., Freeman can actually move quite well catching several over-the-shoulder fly balls and snatching up ground balls anytime they come his way.

Kimbrel is also lending a huge hand to the Braves leading the Majors with 28 saves setting a record with most saves by a rookie prior to the All-Star break. He has only allowed one home-run in 46 innings and claimed a spot in the NL All-Star line-up alongside teammates Jair Jurrjens, Jonny Venters and Brian McCann this past Sunday.

Craig Kimbrel is heavily reliable and anytime the Braves are in a close situation, you can guarantee this is the guy coming out of the bullpen with the look of something to prove. Converting his past nine save opportunities without allowing a run is quite a feat. Batters facing Kimbrel are hitting a lousy .100 against his two main pitches, a 95-97 mph fastball and break-away slider.

With the way the Atlanta Braves have played so far up to the All-Star break (excluding their last series with the Phillies), they have a definite shot at making a deep run in the playoffs if they keep it up their great pitching. Trailing the Philadelphia Phillies by 3.5 games and leading the N.L. Wildcard by a hefty five games, the Atlanta Braves are looking sharp and a team to look out for this upcoming fall.