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Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman on Top of Rookie of the Year Race

DENVER, CO - JULY 18:  Closer Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves works against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning at Coors Field on July 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Kimbrel earned his 29th save as the Braves defeated the Rockies 7-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Ross DurrenceCorrespondent IIJuly 19, 2011

Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel are the front-runners for NL Rookie of the Year. 

Both have had stellar seasons, and are in the middle of hot streaks that have helped the Braves win 18 of their last 24 games.

Freeman has posted a .318 average during that span with seven home runs and 24 RBI. 

He currently leads all rookies in hits, doubles, walks and on-base percentage, and is quickly catching Danny Espinosa for the lead in RBI.

With as good as the Braves' first baseman has been, their rookie closer has been even better.

Craig Kimbrel is a perfect 11-for-11 in save opportunities in that span and has not allowed a run.  In his 13 innings since June 19, he has 21 strikeouts and only a pair of walks. 

Even more impressive? 

Opponents are hitting a measly .103 against him in that stretch.

Come season's end, the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year Award will reside in Atlanta.

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