The Pittsburgh Pirates have been in rebuilding mode for the better part of two decades, ever since the heydays of Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. The franchise has yet to hit upon a successful blueprint to bring them back to winning ways, but in recent years they have accumulated some interesting prospects who may be the catalyst for the resurgence. One prospect to keep a particular eye out for is outfielder Wes Freeman.
Freeman was selected out of high school in the 16th round by Pittsburgh in the 2008 MLB draft. Like other high school players, Freeman was treated with kid gloves for his first couple of seasons, playing mainly in the instructional Gulf League. However, in 2011, he played a total of 55 games at two different levels of A-ball, posting an impressive .299 batting average, with 6 home runs, 24 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. Combined with the strong arm he has shown in the outfield, the Pirates may very well have a five tool player on their hands.
This past season, I had an opportunity to interview Freeman, and got to know the player who has a good chance to rocket up the prospect rankings this coming year.
How did you first become interested in baseball?
I’ve got two older brothers who were probably the ones that directed me to the baseball path. They played, so I kind of fell into that with my family.
Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
I liked the Rays for the last ten years I guess. Favorite player? I don’t know. (Carl) Crawford was a good one, but I like Josh Hamilton right now.
Do you model your own game after Hamilton or any other player? I don’t model after anybody physically. As far as on and off the field, the type of guy he is character-wise, yeah man. There’s a few guys. Jeter’s a great guy and Albert Pujols is one of my favorite personalities.
Have you ever been involved or seen any unusual plays?
I was in left field earlier this year and ended up tagging a guy out at third on a double down the right field line. The third baseman vacated and I got to cover the bag and tag him. I hadn’t done that before. That was kind of an unconventional play.
Now that your career is underway, is there anything about the life of a professional baseball player that surprises you?
I would say how serious people take it. A lot of people that I run in to, it seems like it is more of a job and a life or death situation to them when it’s really just baseball. Some guys I don’t think let it be as much of a game as it should be.
Be sure to check out the selection of Wes Freeman Baseball Cards.