Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was voted 2020 National League MVP, finishing ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
Freeman, who previously had been named the NL Outstanding Player over Betts and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals in the 2020 Players Choice Awards, received 28 first-place votes and 410 total points for MVP. Betts garnered two first-place votes and 268 overall points.
Machado did not receive any votes for first place and he tallied 221 points to place a distant third.
Betts last won MVP in the American League in 2018, when he also helped lead the Boston Red Sox to a World Series title — coincidentally against the Dodgers. Joe DiMaggio (three times), Mickey Mantle (three) and Joe Morgan (twice) are the only players in MLB history to win MVP and a World Series in the same season.
While Betts fell short of adding to his Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger this offseason, he undeniably enjoyed a successful first year with the Dodgers. He appeared in 55 games and batted .292/.366/.562 with nine doubles, 16 home runs and 39 RBI.
Betts also added 10 stolen bases, getting caught only twice. The 28-year-old tied for third in the NL in home runs and led all players with a 3.4 WAR (Baseball-Reference).
His impact began to truly be felt once Dodgers manager Dave Roberts settled on Betts leading off and Corey Seager batting second in the lineup.
That wasn’t a surprise, of course, as Betts had made it clear he prefers being in the leadoff spot. In his 42 games hitting atop the order, Betts batted .302/.383/.570 with five doubles, 13 home runs and 32 RBI.
Betts motivated by pressure
When the Dodgers completed their trade for Betts and David Price, it was the former who was touted as the missing piece and difference-maker in getting the team over the hump. That was magnified all the more once Price opted out of the 2020 season.
“It just means everything,” Betts said of winning the World Series in his first year with the team. “I used that as my fuel. Since Day 1 that’s obviously been the goal, so I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
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