Matt Olson vs. Freddie Freeman: Braves Better Without Freddie?

It’s early days, but Matt Olson certainly makes the Atlanta Braves look good.

With four games on the books, new first baseman Matt Olson is already putting up great numbers for his new club.

In the fifth inning of Sunday’s game, Olson hit a 417-foot blast with an exit speed of 110.8 mph. On Sunday, he was 3-for-4 with two carries and an RBI, taking his batting average to a .571.

On Saturday, Olson was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run for the Braves. On Friday he was 3-for-5 and knocked out once. On Thursday he was 0-2, but drew two walks.

According to The Athletic’s David O’Brien:

Olson is doing pretty well with the Braves, who are now 2-2 after spitting out their opening series with the Cincinnati Reds. They take on the Washington Nationals in a three-game set starting Monday.

As for Freddie Freeman, he seems to be fighting just as hard as his Los Angeles Dodgers after their opening series in Denver against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers are 1-2 and will be sent to Minneapolis-St. Paul for a two-game set against the Minnesota Twins.

Freeman hits .167/.286/.167 with two hits and a run. On Friday, he batted 1-for-3 with one hit, one run and one walk. On Saturday he was 0-for-4. And on Sunday, Freeman was 1-for-5.

Braves fans took a little salty action on Twitter with these stats.

The difference in performance between Olson and Freeman is mind-boggling to say the least. For Freeman, it could be playing in Denver combined with new team jitters. However, after 13 years in the big leagues, you’d think that wouldn’t be a big deal for Freeman. If his current trend continues, Dodgers fans may hesitate to side with their new star. Once the Dodgers get through April and May, things should heat up for Freeman. It would be shocking if he didn’t improve as the season progressed. It’s Freddie Freeman. He’ll get hot in due course.

However, Olson makes the Braves look smart about going elsewhere. Olson is obviously riding high after being involved in such a huge trade moving from the Oakland A’s to the defending World Series champions in the Atlanta Braves. In the midst of an opening weekend celebrating their World Championship, Olson felt a sense of urgency to step up and do his part to continue the Braves’ impressive run.

Olson looks to impress the Braves fan base after losing a fan favorite in Freeman. He wants to earn his team’s trust and reassure them that they made the right decision in bringing Freeman back.

It would take a lot to calm down a team and a fan base after such a huge loss. Freeman grew up in the organization and worked hard for the team and community. Olson knows that sense of loyalty, having spent his six-year career with Oakland.

But as the Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo said recently, there is no such thing as loyalty in baseball.

Olson is already making a good impression with the Braves. Fans will love Freeman, but Olson needs to continue his trend to lessen the loss of a major blow to the organization. As long as he continues this impressive run, Olson will gain his own stature in Braves history. Matt Olson vs. Freddie Freeman: Braves Better Without Freddie?

John Verrall

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