Freddie Freeman or Craig Kimbrel: Who Is The Braves Rookie Of The Year So Far

DENVER, CO - JULY 21: Closer Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves delivers against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning at Coors Field on July 21, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Kimbrel earned his 30th save as the Braves defeated the Rockies 9-6. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

First it was Tommy Hanson in 2009. Then it was Jason Heyward last season. And now it's Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel this year. Which one is the Rookie of the Year for the Braves to this point?

By The Numbers:

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Freddie Freeman 111 409 53 121 28 0 15 55 40 106 4 3 .296 .362 .474

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Craig Kimbrel 3-2 57 0 0 0 34 4 56.0 34 13 12 1 22 87 1.93 1.00

There's no definitive answer, that's for sure. Both have been really, really good this season.

Freeman gets a big advantage for being the everyday player that has been a consistent force in our lineup since early-May. For a team that has struggled so much at the plate, Freeman has arguably been our second best hitter this season. His fWAR of 1.7 is solid, though it is weighed down a bit by being sub-par in the field and on the base paths.

Despite these few negatives, something has to be said for what he's meant to the Braves lineup as so many others have gone down with injuries. Where would we be without him? Freeman has been everything we've expected and more.

Kimbrel has been the best relief pitcher in baseball this season and it isn't even close. His K/9 is an absurd 13.98 and he has learned to control his walks as his 3.54 BB/9 would indicate, which was always his achilles heel in the Minor Leagues. His fWAR of 2.5 is 0.6 higher than the three tied for second place (Robertson, Rivera, Marshall) and is on pace to post the best mark by a reliever since J.J. Putz in 2006.

Our closer has had a few hiccups along the way, but he's been as dominant as they come in the ninth inning. Where would our bullpen be without him?

It's a close race between the two and they're likely 1a and 1b in the National League now that Danny Espinosa has cooled off. A strong argument can be made for either player, but I'm going with Kimbrel. His numbers cannot be touched and he's the best in the game by a wide margin. Freeman has been solid all year, but for my money, Craig Kimbrel is our Rookie of the Year to this point.

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