Back on July 23rd, I profiled Wes Freeman, a day after he hit two home runs in a single game. I talked about how Freeman was very raw, with power being the only part of his game, paired with an alarming amount of strikeouts. At the time I didn’t know that the two homer game was just Freeman heating up. Freeman went 14-for-39 over his next ten games, with three more homers, and 11 other extra base hits. That raised the question as to whether he was climbing in to the top 50. If Freeman made the top 50, it would be due to his skills, and not a ten game hot streak in the middle of a disappointing career. However, as I noted, if Freeman kept this up, it would be a great sign that he was starting to turn things around.
So far, Freeman has kept this up. Since asking whether he should be a top 50 prospect, Freeman has gone 15-for-35 at the plate, with six extra base hits, including a 4-for-5 performance last night with three doubles. He’s currently 21-for-47 in an 11 game hitting streak. Even better, during that streak he’s drawn six walks, and has struck out seven times. The big concern with Freeman has always been his strikeouts. He’s made some great strides this year, going from a 42.2% strikeout rate in the GCL last year, to a 24.7% rate this year. There was also a concern about his walks, as he only had two on the season on July 20th, compared to 22 strikeouts in 63 at-bats.
Since his hot streak started on July 20th, Freeman has put up a .390/.432/.695 line in 82 at-bats, with an 18.3% strikeout rate. During his current hitting streak, he has a .447/.509/.702 line in 47 at-bats, with a 14.9% strikeout rate. Prior to this hot streak, Freeman had a .169/.197/.237 line in 59 at-bats, with a 35.6% strikeout rate.
Putting things in perspective, it’s obviously great to see Freeman doing so well. The organization lacks power hitting prospects, and Freeman is a potential power hitting prospect. That said, it’s still a small sample size. It’s encouraging to see the streak continue, as it indicates that Freeman has made an adjustment. That’s especially true when it comes to the strikeouts. You also have to consider that Freeman is doing this in short season A-ball at the age of 21. Had he gone to college in 2008, rather than signing as a 16th round pick, he would probably be in short season A-ball right now as a middle round draft pick, and his overall .296/.336/.504 line wouldn’t be overly impressive. At best, he’s a 45-50 prospect at the moment. That can change with continued success at the plate, but the big change will come when we see what he can do at the higher levels.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
If he could push to Bradenton by midseason next year and play in AA in 2013 he would be close to the majors by 24 which still would be pretty good. With all the trials that happen to your average prospect 25 in the majors if he did make it is probably more like it. Still, not too bad for a kid who did nothing his first 3 years.
Don’t you think you are being a little aggressive with your placements for next year after only 82 good at bats???? Freeman has a lot more improving to make before I will tab him a “prospect”….
Good points that he would be a college junior playing in SS-A ball. One good thing though is he has already played in professional ball, struggled severely, and made the adjustments it takes to be successful so I that gives him an advantage in one area over the average college player…although Freeman has very few at bats in his career so he is less experienced in that way.
Most of his struggles have come in the GCL. I think the talent level in college is greater than the talent level in the GCL. So I’d say a guy coming out of college has an advantage over Freeman, rather than the other way around.
When you say Top 50, you mean in the Pirates system, right?