The Atlanta Braves may not have much going for it this season (at least that's what the projections suggested), but they do have Freddie Freeman. The first baseman sometimes plays in obscurity with his flailing team, then gets left out of the conversation for best players in the major leagues. On Monday night, he took care of business once again, and in doing so, entered the early conversation for this season's NL MVP award.

Another strong performance

Before the game, Freeman was spotted giving his infant child, Charlie, a kiss before going out on the field. Beyond the bond of parenthood, that moment must've had some magical powers for the Atlanta Braves superstar.

He had a perfect day at the plate in a Braves victory over the San Diego Padres at SunTrust Park.

Freeman went 4 for 4 at the plate with two home runs and two doubles. The first home run was a two-run shot in the third inning. His second home run was only a solo shot, but it tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning, putting the team in position to steal the game in the ninth inning. Both of the home runs cleared 410 feet, showing just how much of a masher Freeman can be. In the bottom of the ninth, Dansby Swanson finished the job his teammate started, hitting a walk-off single and sending the Braves home as 5-4 victors.

NL MVP inroads

Monday night's strong performance should insert Freeman into the NL MVP conversation, despite the fact that the season is just over two weeks old.

He is now batting .400 with five home runs and six RBIs this season, showcasing a weird anomaly that every run he has driven in this season has been on the long ball. His batting average and home run total are both good for third place in the league rankings. He is second in the league in slugging percentage and OPS and fifth in the NL in runs scored so far this season with 11.

Even if some of his numbers are wonky - like the RBI total - Freeman puts the "value" in the MVP award. The Braves are 6-6 so far this season - that may not seem like much to most teams, but the team was expected to be one of the worst in the sport and that hasn't come to fruition yet. Instead, the team has given fans something unexpected to cheer about as they grow accustomed to a new ballpark and a new generation of stars coming through the pipeline.

Without Freeman, none of that would be the case - with nobody else blowing away the field, he deserves some early recognition for his contributions.

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