The Atlanta Braves claimed a third of the National League Silver Slugger awards Thursday, with outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., second baseman Ozzie Albies and first baseman Freddie Freeman among the honorees.
It marked the first such award of each player's career, and it was only the second time since the award was first presented in 1980 that the Braves had three players recognized in one year. In 2003, pitcher Mike Hampton, catcher Javy Lopez and outfielder Gary Sheffield won the award.
The Silver Slugger award is issued to the top offensive producer at each position in each league, as voted by managers and coaches.
The 21-year-old Acuña, who hit .280 with an on-base percentage of .365 and slugging percentage of .518 in 156 games, was second among NL outfielders in home runs (41) and third in RBIs (101). He also led all NL players in runs scored (127) and stolen bases (37).
Acuña was only the third player in baseball history to hit 40 home runs in a single season prior to his 22nd birthday, joining Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott.
Acuña became the youngest Brave to win a Silver Slugger, and one of three in NL history to win a Silver Slugger in his age-21 season or younger after the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols in 2001 and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
“I would like to thank God, my family and my teammates for being named a Silver Slugger winner,” Acuna said in a release. “It is an honor to be recognized by the managers and coaches across the league.”
The 22-year-old Albies played in a team-high 160 games, batting .295 with a .352 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage, leading all NL second basemen in batting and slugging.
Albies matched his career high with 24 homer and drove in a career-high 86, with each total tying for the league lead among second basemen. He also had an NL-best 189 hits, becoming the fifth player in the Braves' Atlanta era to lead the league.
Albies and Acuña are the first teammates in major league history age 22 or younger to win Silver Sluggers in the same season.
“We don’t play the game to win individual awards, but it is an honor to win the Silver Slugger,” Albies said in the release. “Thank you to everyone who voted for me, and to my coaches and teammates for their support throughout the season.”
The 30-year-old Freeman, a 10-year veteran and four-time All-Star, batted .295 with a .389 on-base percentage and .549 slugging percentage, leading all NL first basemen with 121 RBIs. He became the 13th player in franchise history to drive in at least 120 runs in a season, and the first since Andruw Jones drove in 129 in 2006.
Freeman also had a career-high 38 homers and led all NL first basemen with 176 hits.
“Thank you to the managers and coaches who voted for me to be named a Silver Slugger, and congratulations to Ronald and Ozzie for their accomplishments as well,” Freeman said in the release. “These awards would not be possible without the contributions from all of our teammates and coaches, and I am very honored to be named a recipient.”
Also recognized in the National League were Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto, Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon, Colorado shortstop Trevor Story, Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger and Arizona pitcher Zack Greinke.
In the American League, three teams each had two Silver Slugger winners -- Minnesota (catcher Mitch Garver, designated hitter Nelson Cruz), Houston (third baseman Alex Bregman, outfielder George Springer) and Boston (shortstop Xavier Bogaerts and outfielder Mookie Betts).
Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana, Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu and Angels outfielder Mike Trout rounded out the team.