Braves’ Freeman named to Sporting News All-Star team

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was named to Sporting News’ National League All-Star team announced Wednesday.

The publication selected one player at each position to its All-Star team in each league. Freeman made it ahead of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the only other NL player to receive votes at the position.

The only other Brave mentioned by Sporting News was Matt Kemp, among seven outfielders to receive votes behind the three who made the team, Christian Yelich (Marlins), Yoenis Cespedes (Mets) and Starling Marte (Pirates).

Freeman hit .302, set career-highs in home runs (34), triples, (six), extra-base-hits (83), on-base percentage (.400) and slugging percentage (.569), matched a career-best with 43 doubles and had 91 RBIs. His .986 OPS was third-highest in the NL and 71 points above his previous best of .897 in 2013, when Freeman finished fifth in the league MVP balloting

When his 30-game hitting streak ended on Sept. 29, Freeman’s streak was longest in the majors since Dan Uggla’s Atlanta franchise-record 33-game streak in 2011. Freeman also ended a 46-game on-base streak that night, tied for the longest in the majors in 2016.

Freeman and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado tied for second-highest WAR in the National League, behind the Cubs’ Kris Bryant (7.7).

His career-best 2016 season began inauspiciously for Freeman, who hit .242 with 20 extra-base hits (nine homers), 18 RBIs and a .414 slugging percentage in his first 61 games through June 12. He was perhaps the league’s hottest hitter the rest of the way, batting .340 with 63 extra-base hits (25 homers) and a .666 slugging percentage in his last 97 games.

The Braves were 49-48 in the latter stretch, after going 18-43 in his first 61 games.

Freeman has a good chance for another top-five MVP finish when that award is announced next month by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He’s a candidate for a Silver Slugger award and was a finalist for the NL Hank Aaron Award, which went to Bryant on Wednesday.