The Atlanta Braves, for the last four seasons, have enjoyed a dynamic duo on their roster.
The Braves just won the World Series with Acuna on the shelf, but right now, they face the hypothetical scenario of being without Freeman, who is a free agent.
Both are elite performers, but who is better?
Let’s find out.
The Case For Freeman
There are very, very few hitters in the major leagues with Freeman’s past accomplishments, current level of performance, and the certainty that he will remain elite for at least a few more seasons.
As a hitter, Freeman has a gorgeous swing that yields a high average and considerable power.
— MLB Daily Dingers (@MLBDailyDingers) January 7, 2022
As a pure hitter, he is a tad better than Acuna.
His career .295/.384/.509 line shows he has an advantage over Acuna when it comes to hitting for average and getting on base, considering the exciting outfielder’s slash is .281/.376/.549.
Freeman also has something Acuna doesn’t have: an MVP award.
He won it in the 2020 shortened season, by slashing an incredible .341/.462/.640 with 13 homers.
If Acuna has the untapped potential and youth, Freeman has the track record.
He has been an excellent hitter for all of his career, and is currently seeking a six-year deal, so we will get plenty more Freeman.
Freeman is a top clubhouse guy, a respected leader, and universally viewed as one of the best players in MLB.
The Case For Acuna
If Freeman is the seasoned veteran with plenty of hardware, Acuna is the exciting talent with youth and a whole career full of greatness in front of him.
The Braves outfielder is 24, and was well on his way to a historic season when he tore his ACL in July.
In just 82 games, he was hitting .283/.394/.596 with 24 home runs and 17 stolen bases.
Many players would dream about having those numbers for a whole season.
At the moment of his injury, Acuna was among the league leaders in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 4.2.
He was on an 8.0-WAR pace, which is outrageous and speaks volumes about his ability to impact the game on several facets.
He is a fantastic hitter, even better than Freeman as his .925 OPS suggests (the first baseman is at .893).
He is considerably faster than Freeman and is a legit stolen base threat.
In fact, he achieved a 30-30 season in 2019 at just 22 years old.
That year, he homered 41 times and stole 37 bases.
If he is fully healthy, he is one of just a handful of players with 40-40 potential at the moment.
Additionally, Acuna is an above-average fielder at a much more difficult position than Freeman.
Freeman is one of the very best hitters in MLB, and usually performs admirably on crunch time, when his team needs him the most.
He is well-liked by just about everyone, is respected, and has had a positive impact on the game of baseball.
Acuna is, however, a better player at this point.
The Braves just won a World Series with Freddie Freeman and without Ronald Acuña.
Ronald Acuña is better than Freddie Freeman.
Ronald Acuña will be back regardless.
If Freddie isn’t, then this thing isn’t over.
Will it be easier if he is? Sure. But is what it is.
— brando (@_bg37) November 30, 2021
The only thing in which Freeman was better than Acuna when the latter came through from the minors was hitting.
That is no longer the case, as Acuna’s superior power has more weight than the slight advantage in average and OBP Freeman holds.
Acuna looks like a future Hall of Famer and perennial MVP candidate.