Matt Olson vs. Freddie Freeman: Braves better without Freddie?

It’s early but Matt Olson is certainly making the Atlanta Braves look good.

With four games in 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 velocity of 110.8 mph. On Sunday, he was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, raising his batting average to .571.

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

According to David O’Brien of The Athletic:

Olson is doing quite well with the Braves who are now 2-2 after spitting 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 struggling as mightily as his Los Angeles Dodgers are after their opening series in Denver against the Colorado Rockies.  The Dodgers are 1-2 and will head to Minneapolis-St. Paul for a two-game set against the Minnesota Twins.

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

Fans of the Braves took to Twitter a bit salty with these statistics.

The difference in performance by Olson and Freeman is jaw-dropping, to say the least. For Freeman, it could be a matter of playing in Denver combined with new team jitters. After playing 13 years in the major leagues, you would think it wouldn’t be a big deal for Freeman though. If his current trend continues, Dodgers fans may be reluctant in standing by 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 goes on. It’s Freddie Freeman. He will get hot in due time.

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

Olson is wanting to impress the Braves fan base after they lost a fan favorite in Freeman. He’s wanting to gain the trust of his team and reassure them that they made the right choice in going with him over bringing back Freeman.

It would take a lot to reassure a team and a fan base after such a tremendous loss. Freeman grew up in the organization and worked hard for the team and community. Olson knows that sense of loyalty after spending his six-season career with Oakland.

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

Olson is already making a good impression on the Braves. Fans will hold Freeman dear to their hearts, but Olson will need to continue his trend to lessen the loss of a significant blow to the organization. As long as he continues this impressive run, Olson will gain his own stature in Braves history.

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