With Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones out for the season and Troy Glaus slumping of late, we turned to John Sickels of SB Nation's Minor League Ball blog to take a hard look at prospect Freddie Freeman, an infielder the Braves may promote to supplement the roster down the stretch.
Freeman was drafted in the second round in 2007, out of high school in Orange, Calif. A 6-foot-5, 220 pounder, he has strong natural power from the left side. He broke out in 2008 with a .316/.378/.521 season for Low-A Rome, but scuffled a bit in 2009 with a wrist injury that cut into his power somewhat. Fully healthy this year, he's hitting .305/.367/.506 for Triple-A Gwinnett, with 15 homers, 37 walks, and 71 strikeouts in 387 at-bats.
Atlanta Braves first base prospect Freddie Freeman (Getty Images)
He isn't a huge walk machine, but his strikeout rate is reasonably low for a young power hitter, a good marker for his future, and he's still only 20 years old. Someone his age who posts an .873 OPS in Triple-A has a terrific future. He has the "sweet swing" that scouts like to see, and hasn't shown much vulnerability to either breaking balls or fastballs. He's also a very good defensive first baseman.
As with any young player, there could be an adjustment period when Freeman reaches the majors, and instant stardom should not be expected. Nevertheless, Freeman is one of the very best first base prospects in baseball, and likely to be a core player for the Braves along with Jason Heyward for years to come.