• Braves have 3 first-time Silver Slugger winners

    By: Gabriel Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    The Braves boasted perhaps the best offense in franchise history in 2019, and three individuals were rewarded with their first Silver Slugger awards.

    Outfielder Ronald Acuna was awarded a Silver Slugger after his first full season. First baseman Freddie Freeman and second baseman Ozzie Albies also claimed the National League awards.

    The Braves were the only team to have three recipients. They last did so in 2003, when pitcher Mike Hampton, catcher Javy Lopez and outfielder Gary Sheffield were honored.

    The Silver Slugger is given to the top offensive player at each position in both leagues as voted by managers and coaches.

    Acuna, now the youngest Brave to claim a Silver Slugger, was one of three National League outfielders to achieve the honor, joining MVP candidates Cody Bellinger (Dodgers) and Christian Yelich (Brewers).

    The Braves' dynamic leadoff man hit .280/.365/.518 with 41 homers, 101 RBIs and 127 runs scored in his first full major-league season. He also stole 37 bases.

    Acuna is the third player in NL history to win a Silver Slugger at age 21 or younger. Albert Pujols and Fernando Valenzuela were the other two.

    Freeman had arguably his best offensive season, hitting .295/.389/.549 with a career-best 38 home runs and 121 RBIs. His hits (176), average and RBIs led first baseman, helping him beat out Pete Alonso and his 53 homers for the award.

    Freeman also was acknowledged for his stellar defense a day earlier, when Freeman was named Wilson defensive player of the year among first basemen.

    Albies hit .295/.352/.500 with 24 homers and 86 RBIs. He led the NL with 189 hits in 160 games. Albies is the first second baseman in Braves history to win a Silver Slugger.

    He and Acuna paired for a lethal combination atop the lineup, captivating audiences with their speed-power combinations. They're the first pair of teammates 22 years or younger to win Silver Sluggers in the same season, according to MLB stats savant Sarah Langs.

    "Thank you to the managers and coaches who voted for me to be named a Silver Slugger, and congratulations to Ronald and Ozzie for their accomplishments as well," Freeman said in a team statement. "These awards would not be possible without the contributions from all of our teammates and coaches, and I am very honored to be named a recipient." 

    This report was written by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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