2022 MLB Awards: Fried Headlines Group of Gwinnett Alums Honored
Major League Baseball has wrapped up its awards season for 2022, and four former Gwinnett players (and one manager) were among winners or finalists. Following an All-Star campaign with the Atlanta Braves, pitcher Max Fried was the most decorated of the Gwinnett alums, earning a Gold Glove Award®, selection to
Major League Baseball has wrapped up its awards season for 2022, and four former Gwinnett players (and one manager) were among winners or finalists.
Following an All-Star campaign with the Atlanta Braves, pitcher Max Fried was the most decorated of the Gwinnett alums, earning a Gold Glove Award®, selection to the All-MLB Second Team, and a second-place finish in National League Cy Young voting.
Below is a recap of all G-Braves and Stripers alums recognized this year.
Fried, Swanson win NL Gold Glove Awards®
For the second straight season, two Gwinnett alums earned Rawlings Gold Glove Awards® in the National League. Fried captured his third straight Gold Glove award, while shortstop Dansby Swanson nabbed his long-awaited first.
The 28-year-old Fried posted a .976 fielding percentage in 2022, committing just one error in 42 total chances over his 30 starts for Atlanta. According to Mark Bowman’s article for MLB.com, Fried ranked third among all qualified pitchers last year with three Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and leads MLB in pickoffs (18) since the start of 2019. Prior to becoming a staple of the Braves’ rotation in 2019, the left-hander made 15 starts for Gwinnett from 2017-18.
Swanson, also 28, produced a .986 fielding percentage over 161 games at baseball’s premier defensive position. He had just eight errors in 592 total chances at short, and per Bowman’s article, led all NL players regardless of position with 21.4 Defensive Runs Above Average (Def). Swanson has had a fielding percentage above .980 in four of his six full seasons with Atlanta, including a career-best .991 mark in 2020. In his brief 11-game stint with Gwinnett in 2017, he posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage (0 errors in 43 total chances) in nine games at shortstop.
Fried Finishes Second in NL Cy Young Voting
Fried’s defense was just one facet of a tremendous season in which he went 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and .225 BAA over 30 starts for the Braves. Per Bowman’s article for MLB.com, Fried ranked third in the NL in ERA, ERA+ (164), and fielding independent pitching (2.70).
Those numbers ultimately added up to a second-place finish in NL Cy Young voting behind unanimous winner Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins. Alcantara earned all 30 first-place votes, while Fried garnered second place (10), third place (7), fourth place (5), and fifth place (1) votes to edge Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Julio Urias.
Fried is just the second pitcher to place in the top three in Cy Young voting after playing for Gwinnett. He joins current Braves teammate Charlie Morton, who finished third in American League voting with Tampa Bay in 2019 one decade after making 10 starts for the inaugural G-Braves in 2009.
Strider Finishes Second in NL Rookie of the Year Voting
The Braves’ electric duo of outfielder Michael Harris II and pitcher Spencer Strider finished 1-2 in voting for the Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year award. According to this Sarah Langs article for MLB.com, they are the eighth pair of teammates to claim the top two spots in R.O.Y. voting all-time (first since Gwinnett alums Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman did it in 2011). Harris received 22 first-place votes, while Strider had eight first-place votes.
Harris, though he played at Coolray Field as part of Atlanta’s 2020 Alternate Training Site, skipped over actually playing for Gwinnett on his way to Major League stardom last season. Strider nearly did as well, logging just one career appearance for the Stripers at the tail end of 2021. In that lone relief outing on September 29 vs. Jacksonville, he struck out the side in one scoreless inning, throwing 12 of his 14 pitches for strikes. Several of those pitches were clocked at 100 mph or above, something Braves fans have seen regularly over Strider’s 33 career big-league outings since.
Showcasing that triple-digit fastball alongside his now-famous throwback mustache, the 24-year-old Strider went 11-5 with a 2.67 ERA, .180 BAA, and 13.80 SO/9.0 IP ratio over 31 games (20 starts) in 2022. His rookie campaign was truly historic, as he became the fastest pitcher in AL/NL history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season.
Strider is the seventh Gwinnett alum to finish in the top three in NL Rookie of the Year voting all-time, joining Tommy Hanson (3rd in 2009), Jason Heyward (2nd in 2010), Kimbrel and Freeman (1st and 2nd in 2011), Ronald Acuña Jr. (1st in 2018), and Mike Soroka (2nd in 2019).
Brian Snitker Finishes Third in NL Manager of the Year Voting
Braves’ manager Brian Snitker was a finalist for the NL Manager of the Year award for the third time in the last five seasons but ultimately finished third in a close vote behind Buck Showalter of the New York Mets (1st) and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd).
Snitker guided the Braves to a 101-61 (.623) record in 2022, the club’s best mark since he took the reins in May 2016. Atlanta shook off an early-season World Series hangover, going an MLB-best 78-34 after June 1 and erasing a 10.5-game deficit to pass Showalter’s Mets for the NL East crown. Snitker has now led the Braves to a division title in each of his last five seasons, starting in 2018 when he won NL Manager of the Year.
Snitker’s long and winding journey to big-league managerial success included his stint as Gwinnett’s manager from 2014-16, when he piloted the club to a 161-164 (.495) record over 325 games. Over seven seasons with Atlanta, he owns a 542-451 (.546) record in 993 games.
Fried, Freeman Named to All-MLB Second Team
Awards season concluded on December 5 with the announcement of the All-MLB teams, which honor the best player at each position in First Team and Second Team designations. Voting is split equally between fans and a panel of experts.
Despite boasting an MLB-best 11 candidates on the ballot, the Braves saw only Fried selected as he was named to the Second Team. In the four-year history of the All-MLB team, Fried has now earned the award three times, as he was selected to the First Team in 2020 and the Second Team in 2021.
Former Braves and G-Braves star Freeman, following his first year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was named the first baseman on the Second Team. He has made either the First Team (2020) or the Second Team (2019, 2021, 2022) in all four years of the award’s existence.
Freeman, the International League Rookie of the Year with Gwinnett back in 2010, ranked among Major League leaders in hits (1st, 199), doubles (1st, 47), batting average (2nd, .325), on-base percentage (2nd, .407), runs scored (T-2nd, 117), total bases (4th, 313), OPS (6th, .918), and extra-base hits (T-8th, 70) in 2022. He finished fourth in NL MVP voting, the fourth time in his career he’s landed in the top five.
Fried and Freeman are two of eight former Gwinnett players named to the All-MLB team since its inception in 2019, joining Acuña Jr. (second team in 2019 and 2020), Soroka (Second Team in 2019), Morton (Second Team with Tampa Bay in 2019), Austin Riley (First Team in 2021), Ozzie Albies (Second Team in 2021), and Kevin Gausman (Second Team with San Francisco in 2021).