The NLDS will get underway later today and we have already made our picks for who will come out on top between the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers so be sure to check that out. Up next is our picks as the series MVP.
Who will be the MVP of the series?
Ivan: Speaking of crazy things to bet on… I mean I have no idea what’s going to happen, but Freddie Freeman against a pretty right-handed pitching staff makes me guess Freddie Freeman. I think people have kind of forgotten about Freeman amidst most of the other stuff going on this season, but Freeman managed to match his 2018-2019 performance this season while having one of the biggest xwOBA underperformances in baseball. Seriously, dude finished this season seventh in xwOBA among anyone with 240+ PAs… but just 30th in wOBA. 2020 aside, he had his best exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and strikeout rate of the Statcast era, and showed interesting and meaningful gains in a bunch of plate discipline and swing quality stats.
Kris: There are a lot of candidates for the Braves but I am going to go a bit off the radar. I don’t know how many starts Joc Pederson will get in this series but at some point I think he will make a big impact and help deliver Atlanta a crucial win.
Stephen: The two easiest guesses are Freddie Freeman and Corbin Burnes. Whichever team wins, it’s probably because one of those two guys shoved. To stay away from what’s easy, I’ll go with Charlie Morton. Like I said above, I think it’s going 5 and I think the Braves win. That means Charlie is pitching twice, and has as much control over what happens in the series as any one player does, other than the starter who pitches twice for Milwaukee (almost certainly Burnes). And Morton lives for this time of year. Put me down for him throwing two gems, which means he almost certainly leaves the series with the highest value. My dark horse is some random Braves’ hitter like Rosario going off for a couple of games, but with the quality of the Brewers pitching top to bottom, it’s tough to pick an offensive player.
Eric: Freddie is the easy guess based on the pitching matchups and the fact that I have picked the Braves to win, but I am going to go out on a limb and say Austin Riley. He has put together a season that I don’t think anyone thought he was capable of (I would have lost a lot of money betting against him hitting .300 in a season) and he has been super consistent after his slow start to the season. He also has had some good games against the Brewers this season, so while the pitching matchup isn’t ideal for him, I think the quality of his at-bats will be very good and he will end up doing some damage.
Brad: As I think everyone would acknowledge, this is an insane thing to project. The Braves have three position players (Freeman, Riley, Albies) operating at a star level, power bats that could go crazy (Soler, Duvall, etc.) and two starting pitchers (Morton, Fried) who have been lights-out. I guess I’ll ride with Morton, largely because he is going to be on the mound for Game 1 and he is the likeliest starter to get multiple starts. Also, he’s very good.
Daniel: Given that I think the most likely team to win is the Braves, I will pick a Brave here. Freeman seems like the obvious choice, as a great hitter in general and facing primarily right handed pitching. Morton, Riley, and Soler would be the next three most likely Braves in my opinion. If the Brewers win, I think it happens in five games, specifically because they can throw Corbin Burnes twice, so he would be my pick for MVP if the Brewers win the series.
Demetrius: If the Braves win then as long as he’s not playing in a, um, compromised state then Freddie Freeman would be a good pick for this. Like Ivan said, the Brewers have a whole bunch of right-handers and what Freddie has done to righties this season would be classified as a crime in 44 states and two territories. It’s either him or Charlie Morton, who seems to be rounding into Postseason form and is usually a safe bet to give you something really good once October rolls around. If we’re all sad and watching the Postseason as neutral fans in two weeks time, then it would likely be due to Corbin Burnes going nuts.
DJourn: Unless this series plays out like no one expects and is a complete offensive explosion for both teams, someone in the Braves line-up is going to have to come up with a couple of hits in critical situations - and probably a home run or two. After Brian Snitker told MLB Network Radio on Sunday that he’s going to play his regular line-up rather than play matchups that made my first thought jump to Jorge Soler since Joc Pederson may be relegated to pinch-hit appearances. But for MVP of this series, I’ll go with a name no one has brought up yet: Adam Duvall. A super dark horse candidate for the Braves could be Luke Jackson who could be called on to get out of tight jams all series. If he is “All Elite Luke Jackson” and not the “Luke Jackson Experience” he could be the guy. If the Brewers win, then watch the MVP of the series be Jace Peterson, because that would be a thing that would totally happen to the Braves.
Gaurav: I’ll switch things up and say Charlie Morton pitches two absolute gems, in an extremely tightly contested series, and earns NLDS MVP. He’s gotten stronger throughout the season and looks extremely dynamic right now on the mound.
Matt: It could be anyone. Freeman, Soler, Riley, Dansby, Duvall, Ozzie, Joc, and even Rosario are among the Braves who have done big things in big spots this year in the lineup. It’s not hard to see any of them being the MVP. Same goes for Morton and Fried, who have shown the ability to take over a game down the stretch and are going to overmatch the Brewers. I’ll go with the Braves 2021 MVP to me, Austin Riley. If the Brewers do win I think it comes down to Josh Hader.
Aly: This is literally so hard to answer because it really could be anyone. I want to say either Jorge Soler or Austin Riley. Both have been amazing at the plate, either putting us on the board, or tacking on runs when we really need them. They have both been reliable, and I never worry when one of them comes up to bat.
Shawn: Ozzie Albies or Dansby Swanson, but I’ll go with Albies. For one, I think either Albies producing RBIs in the middle of the order or Swanson creating opportunities for the top of the order will be a huge development. Plus, both will likely be busy with plenty of opportunities to get outs in the field. If the Braves can have the more productive middle infield this series, that will be a big boost for their chances.
Kaitlyn: I feel like Freeman is the obvious answer, but I’m going with Jorge Soler here. Soler has come up big with timely hitting and has brought a lot of pop to the leadoff spot that we all missed when Acuña went down. He’s already tallied 2 hits against Corbin Burnes earlier in the season, so I’m hoping that he rides that momentum into game one, with Burnes on the mound. I’m expecting a big series from Soler and think that he can definitely make a case for NLDS MVP.