Which Atlanta Brave Deserves Rookie of the Year?
The 2011 NL Rookie of the Year Award will reside in Atlanta come season's end.
The only question regarding the award is which Brave will be the recipient.
Closer Craig Kimbrel and first baseman Freddie Freeman have both had exceptional seasons for the Braves, and are each deserving of the honor.
Let's take a look at which one of these young stars most deserves the award.
The Case for Freeman
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The best thing Freddie Freeman has going for him in the Rookie of the Year race is that he plays every day.
The Braves first baseman has played in nearly every game this season and is hitting a more than respectable .295.
He leads all National League rookies in hits, doubles, RBI, walks, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Clearly, Freddie Freeman has been the best rookie position player in the Senior Circuit.
As far as total contribution to the team, Freeman's impact cannot be overstated. He has provided the pop and consistency that the Braves have needed all season long. With the resurgence of Dan Uggla and the return of Brian McCann from the disabled list, look for Freeman's numbers to continue to rise.
The Case for Kimbrel
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While Freddie Freeman has clearly been the best rookie first baseman, Craig Kimbrel has been the best overall closer in the majors.
Among rookies and veterans alike, Kimbrel's numbers stick out as being utterly dominant.
He leads the majors in saves and leads rookie relievers in innings pitched. On top of that, his ERA is a microscopic 1.84 with an even more incredible WHIP of 0.99.
Though Kimbrel came out of the gates slowly, he has not allowed a run since June 11 and has converted each of his last 18 save opportunities. His K/9 ratio is also incredible, as he averages nearly 14 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched.
And the Winner Is....
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Though he doesn't play every day, you can't ignore his numbers.
He is having the greatest rookie season by a closer in the history of Major League Baseball, and is currently the best ninth-inning man in the game.
In any other year, Freddie Freeman wins the award going away.
Unfortunately for the Atlanta first baseman, he ran up against a buzzsaw in his own bullpen.