By Emily Hanson | | Layout Assistant
Another fall, another MLB World Series, and after two long seasons of strange COVID rules and changes, what a series it was! In a wild set of playoff games, both teams who earned pennants in the 2020 series (the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers) didn’t make it to the end, but the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves took their spots. The final game, game six, was played on November 2nd, and Atlanta defeated Houston with a 7-0, shutting them out to win the series 4-2. This was the Braves’ first World Series win since 1995, and their first pennant since 1999, where they lost to the New York Yankees.
As it turns out, the Braves were not the projected team to win the World Series this year. Although they finished with a .547 winning percentage and clinched the National League East division title, they had the lowest record of any of the 10 postseason teams, and even a few teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Their season looked essentially over in July, right around the All-Star break, when their star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL in the middle of a career-highlighting year. In 82 games before he got hurt, he already had 24 home runs and stole 17 bases. To replace him and not give up on their playoff hopes, Atlanta acquired Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, and Jorge Soler during the year, outfielders with the potential to elevate them to the postseason and beyond.
And they did. Jorge Soler won the World Series MVP, Most Valuable Player, award. Now Soler didn’t have a particularly successful season, his average was .223, with 27 home runs over 516 at-bats. He was already hitting .192 before Atlanta traded for him, and he even missed time due to COVID, playing time crucial for a free agent like him. But in three of the World Series games, he put Atlanta ahead with a home run. One of them happened in Game 6, a three-run shot that silenced the Astros fans at Minute Maid Park in Houston. His series had six hits total, four runs scored, and three walks.
In addition to Jorge Soler, first baseman Freddie Freeman is also officially a free agent with the conclusion of the 2021 season. Freddie Freeman has played exclusively for the Braves since his major league career began in 2010. He has been an All-Star 5 times, has won 3 Silver Slugger awards over his career, and was the MVP of the National League in 2020. This year in the World Series, Freeman had 7 hits in 22 at-bats. This positive postseason contribution coupled with Freeman’s loyalty for the Braves influences his desire to remain with the team and the likelihood of the Braves resigning him.
So far this offseason, the entire league has been slow-moving with free-agent signings and trades due to the collective bargaining agreement, or the contract between the MLB owners and the players union. There’s so much more coming for the MLB this offseason, and it just goes to show how anything can happen in baseball, and even the underdogs can win. Keep up to date with the player movements, and look out for the start of the 2022 season on March 31st!
Freshman Emily Hanson is a Layout Assistant for The College Reporter. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org .