Tag Archives: David Freese

Former Wizard, David Freese Secures Cards’ 3B Gig

As the month of March came to a close, Cardinals’ Manager Tony LaRussa told former Fort Wayne Wizard, David Freese that he will be their s primary and Opening Day third baseman. The news came as the Cardinals were preparing to face the Mets in a Spring Trianing Game and following a tumultuous year tha had many questioning if Freese would be able to overcome some misteps that included an auto accident, heel injury, DUI and a disappointing 2009 campaign.

He entered an employee-assistance program and has not had a drink since.

“It hasn’t been the easiest road,” he said. “I think mentally it’s made me tougher, from everything that’s happened. I just came in here focused. I had a lot of baggage walking in this year, but I’m real happy with the support I’ve had from everybody from top to bottom. I grinded it out and earned the job.”

Cardinals’ hitting coach, Mark McGwire, has indicated that putting Freese lower in the lineup could “be a transformative presence” in the team’s lineup.

He could add “depth and that run producer that comes after the middle of our order,” McGwire said. It has helped Freese that in the last week or so of camp he’s relaxed, and he has not been pushing to make every throw a highlight or every swing a home run.

Related BBIFW David Freese Posts:

David Freese’s MLB Debut

David Freese Again the Favorite at Third

Former Wizards Likely to Debut in 2009 – Part I

Freese for Edmonds: Former Wizards Infielder Traded to Cardinals

TinCaps’ News Release on Reaching 80 MLB Debuts

From the Fort Wayne TinCaps:

Former Fort Wayne RHP Dale Thayer made his major-league debut Friday night with the Tampa Bay Rays, delivering three innings to pick up a save. He became the fourth Fort Wayne alum to make his MLB debut this season, joining INFs Bobby Scales and David Freese along with RHP Greg Burke. Since professional baseball returned to the Summit City in 1993, 80 Fort Wayne players have gone on to play in the major leagues. 

“Dale was a class act while he was with us in Fort Wayne and I wish him continued success in the major leagues,” TinCaps president Mike Nutter said. “He’s just another example of the top-quality players we’ve been able to showcase for our fans right here in Fort Wayne.”

Thayer played the first professional game of his career for Fort Wayne in 2003. He went 1-3 with 25 saves and a 2.06 ERA that year, finishing third in the Midwest League in saves. He also received the team’s Community Player of the Year Award for his involvement in the Fort Wayne community. Thayer, 28, was sent from the Padres to the Rays in 2006 as the player to be named later in exchange for INF Russell Branyan.

Scales, 31, finally made his major-league debut this season after a decade in the minor leagues. He was called up by the Cubs on May 5th when Carlos Zambrano went on the Disabled List. Scales played for Fort Wayne in 2000, hitting .283 in 81 games. This year with the Cubs, he is batting .286 with a home run and 5 RBIs in 11 games.

During Friday’s Padres-Cubs game, Scales mixed it up with a former teammate from the Summit City, Padres RHP Jake Peavy. After Padres INF David Eckstein was hit by a Zambrano pitch in the 1st inning, Peavy plunked Scales in the top of the 2nd, prompting a warning to both benches. Later in the game, Peavy came to the plate and hit a smash to third, where Scales made a diving stop and threw Peavy out at first base. Peavy, the subject of trade talks earlier this week, struck out 10 Cubs on the way to a 4-0 victory, San Diego’s seventh in a row.

Freese, 26, played for Fort Wayne in 2006, hitting .299 with eight home runs in 53 games. He made the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day roster this year with Troy Glaus on the Disabled List. Freese went 3-for-19 with a pair of doubles before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis on April 22nd. He went to the Cardinals in 2007 in the trade that brought Jim Edmonds to the Padres.

Burke, 26, has fired three scoreless innings for the Padres since being called up from Triple-A Portland on May 15th. He went 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA for Fort Wayne in 2006, his first professional season.

Eight members of the 2006 Fort Wayne roster have made it to the major leagues: Freese, Burke, INF Matt Antonelli, RHP Josh Geer, C Nick Hundley, OF Wade LeBlanc, RHP Joakim Soria and OF Will Venable.

Nine players from the 2000 roster have also made it to “The Show”: Peavy, Scales, LHP Cliff Bartosh, RHP Jack Cassel, LHP Eric Cyr, OF Ben Johnson, RHP Dennis Tankersley, RHP Michael Thompson and RHP J.J. Trujillo.

Fans can get a glimpse of the next generation of major leaguers when the TinCaps return to Parkview Field on Tuesday to open a 12-game homestand. It all starts with a 7:05pm first pitch Tuesday against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Class-A Los Angeles Angels). To order tickets, call (260) 482-6400, go online to TinCaps.com, or visit the Parkview Field box office at the corner of Ewing and Brackenridge Streets in downtown Fort Wayne.

David Freese’s MLB Debut

Former Wizard, David Freese made his Major League debut with the St. Louis Cardinals against the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon. In the top of the seventh inning, he entered the game as a replacement for Trevor Miller, batting ninth and playing third base. In the bottom half of the inning, he grounded out to Pitsburgh’s third baseman, Andy LeRouche.

The next inning, he hit a sacrifice fly to to the Pirates Right Fielder, Brandon Moss, driving in Joe Thurston to earn his first Major League RBI.

Freese becomes the 77th former Fort Wayne Wizard to debut in Major League Baseball and the first of the young 2009 season. Freese was originally drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 amateur entry draft by San Diego with the 273rd overall pick. He went right to work, hitting .379 with five home runs and 26 runs batted in over 58 at-bats at Eugene before joining the Wizards 53 games in 2006. During that stint, Freese hit .299 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in and drawing 21 walks in 204 at-bats.

He ended up with the Cardinals organization as part of the trade for the sent Jim Edmonds to the padres prior to the 2008 season.

Roster Battles: Cruz In, Rosales to Minors, Bush Released

Unless the Pirates make a waiver claim or something changes between now and opening day, Luis Cruz has a spot on the Pirates opening day roster.

…this will be his first time on an Opening Day roster. He made his Major League debut as a September callup last year and impressed with his defensive abilities and versatility.

Diamondbacks reliever, Leo Rosales, was sent to Triple-A today. He had a 3.86 ERA in and nine strikeouts in 11.2 innings over 10 Cactus League games.

The Matt Bush era in Toronto is over before it begins. Hoep the Padres don’t have to give up much for hte PTBNL or cash for that experiment.

“He did have issues when he was with San Diego,” said one Blue Jays official. The Blue Jays would not specify what Bush did to cause his release except to say he ran afoul of the “zero tolerance” terms of his agreement with the American League team.

Wonder who (if anyone) will take a chance on bush now. Josh Hamilton, please reach out to this kid!

If he plays well, David Freese will get a longer look in St. Louis since Troy Glaus will be out longer than originally anticipated.

Finally, yours truly has been quoted in an MLB article containing comments from many overly optimistic Chicago Cubs fans. Enjoy.

David Freese Again the Favorite at Third

Not long ago, I assessed former Wizard, David Freese’s chances of starting the 2009 season with the St. Louis Cardinals as being pretty darn good. Then I found out with most eveyroen else that he had a lingering Achilles injury that stemmed from a January auto accident. Then he was sent to minor league camp.

Many speculated that it might mean he would have no chance of breaking camp with the parent club. Fortunately, Spring Training is a long time and a lot can change.

David Freese was recalled from minor league camp and the Carinals are hoping he’ll either win the job or light a spark under Joe Mather, who slumped heavily after they sent Freese down.

“The first thing is to give him a look before you take the next stride and say, ‘Hey, he makes the club or is on the club.’ You give him a look he wasn’t able to get before,” La Russa said.

He’s once again the leading candidate to win the job. Whiteyball thinks Freese will break camp with the parent club. Yesterday, he went 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs batted in duirng St. Louis’ 10-6 loss to Baltimore. In that contest, Freese got the start at first base, which was the first time in his professional career he did so. He’s 6-for-8 in his last two starts.

Freese was originally drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 amateur entry draft by San Diego with the 273rd overall pick. He went right to work, hitting .379 with five home runs and 26 runs batted in over 58 at-bats at Eugene before joining the Wizards 53 games in 2006. During that stint, Freese hit .299 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in and drawing 21 walks in 204 at-bats. The following season, he produced similar numbers over the full season at High-A Lake Elsinore, and even inched his on base percentage up over .400.

Related BBIFW David Freese Posts:

Freese Ressigned to Minor League Camp

David Freese is one of fifteen cardinals who got reassigned to the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league camp. His spring has been considerably limited due to an Achilles tendon injury that resulted from an auto accident last January.

“…it’s just about getting him healthy. Major League camp is not a place to be rehabbing, unless, of course, you’re on the roster. This will take a little bit of stress off of him and allow him to focus on getting himself right without the pressure of thinking he’s got to get back on the field.”

Related BBIFW David Freese Posts:

Parker is Top Diamondback’s Prospect

Jarrod Parker has been named the top prospect in the Arizona Diamondback’s organization by Baseball America. It’s hardly a surprise. He’s been highly touted since being selected number nine overall in the 2007 Amateur Draft. During his first professional season last year, he faired very well in the Midwest League, including dominating his hometown Fort Wayne Wizards for several shutout innings in the last game in Memorial Stadium history.

BA also selected Parker for the “Best Fastball” and “Best Slider” categories as well as slotting as the number two starter in the projected 2012 rotation behind current ace, Brandon Webb.

While many predict he’s at least another year away from arriving in the Majors, BA speculates that might be a bit pessimistic:

It wouldn’t be shocking to see 2007 first-rounder Jarrod Parker . . . in the big leagues at some point this year.

And while we are on the topic of Baseball America prospect rankings, a couple former Wizards have shown up in with their current organizations:

In case you are wondering Baseball America will unveil their ratings for the Padres organization on February 2nd.

What’s David Freese’s Chances with Cardinals in 2009?

One storyline I’ll be watching closely in Spring Training and throughout the 2009 is how former Wizard infielder, David Freese, develops and when/if he cracks the St. Louis Cardinals lineup.

He was originally drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 amateur entry draft by San Diego with the 273rd overall pick. He went right to work, hitting .379 with five home runs and 26 runs batted in over 58 at-bats at Eugene before joining the Wizards 53 games in 2006. During that stint, Freese hit .299 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in and drawing 21 walks in 204 at-bats. The following season, he produced similar numbers over the full season at High-A Lake Elsinore, and even inched his on base percentage up over .400.

Then, in December 2007, the Padres traded Freese to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jim Edmonds. As Edmonds floundered with the Padres, was released and ultimately put in a solid year with the Chicago Cubs, the Cards put Freese at Triple-A Memphis, where he started turning heads with his outstanding production – especially considering he had never played about A ball before the season began.

In 2008, with the Memphis Redbirds, Freese hit .306 with a .361 OBP. He also clubbed 26 home runs while driving in 91 and walking 39 times over 464 at-bats in 131 games. Not too shabby.

Given that production, the question on many observers’ minds is not whether Freese will play with the parent club in 2009, but it he will be on the Opening Day roster. Obviously, how he performs at Spring Training will have a lot to do with the answer to that, but there are other variables that we must consider. For one, Troy Glaus is already the incumbent third baseman and probably still has a lock on the spot for now – although he is injured and will miss some time to begin the season.

But the second wrinkle is the fact that Freese has some stiff competition. He’s not the only hot prospect at the corner. He’s not even one of two; he’s one of three!

The Cardinals have three third-base prospects in the upper levels of the Minor Leagues: David Freese, Brett Wallace and Allen Craig. They’re all pushing hard, and it’s extremely difficult to envision a 2010 Cardinals club that doesn’t include at least one of them. That’s especially true if it’s the difference between, say, Wallace at the Major League minimum and Glaus at eight figures per year [mlb.com].

Odd are, Freese will get some playing time at another position, maybe first, while the Wallace and Craig may also get tryouts in other spots too. Either way, Glaus’s injury can’t be good news for him with these three breathing down his neck.

In fact, the reason I write this post now is more in response to Glaus’s injury than Freese’s emergence. I think most observers have been quietly monitoring this situation. However, when news of Glaus’s surgery and the fact that he’ll miss 12 weeks came out, Freese’s name started popping up with a much greater frequency than it had been.

A sample of what many are saying shows a mixed opinion on who will get the nod:

  • I think Freese will be a very good MLB third basemen, but he’s not quite my pick. ~ The Bid Dead Sidebar
  • David Freese, 26, might get an extended audition a year early as a result of Glaus’ surgery… ~ OCregister
  • David Freese, who hit well at AAA last season, will be given all the chances to show he can replace Glaus. ~ Reilly Mcshane @ BuzzNewsRoom
  • David Freese has the inside track on the job (for all you, NL-only guys), but top prospect Brett Wallace is the guy to watch ~ Fantasy Ball Junkie
  • David Freese seems like a much better option as he showed great skills in AAA last year with 26 homers, 5 steals and a .306 batting average. ~ Roto Savants

The St. Louis Register seems to be on board with Freese too:

Well, David Freese figures to get the first shot to fill the void. It seems that it’s his turn. Freese isn’t a baby. He’s 26. He’s more mature than other prospects. The Cardinals coveted him when the traded Edmonds to San Diego last winter; they agreed to pay $1 million more of Jimmy Baseball’s salary so they could get Freese instead of another, lesser prospect being dangled by the Padres. And Freese, the hometowner, responded to his move to the Cardinals organization by making the jump from high Class A to Class AAA and batting .306 with 26 homers and 91 RBIs for Memphis. He made only 10 errors at 3B and impressed the Cardinals with his defense. If Freese isn’t given the opportunity to run with this job until Glaus returns, then I must ask: what was the point of the trade?

What more would Mister Freese have to do to earn a shot? If he has an awful spring, then that’s a different matter. But what if he goes to Jupiter and hits well, and fields crisply? He deserves the chance. The Cardinals have made a priority of player development, and they have pitched the concept aggressively to their fan base. If they leave Freese standing on the side now, when there is a clear need for his skill set at the major-league level, then this PR campaign over player development will be exposed for what it is.  Mostly talk. I don’t care where the Cardinals’ farm system is ranked by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus or ESPN. If a player who has put up those kind of numbers in his first AAA season can’t get a shot when the big-league club has an emergency, then the joke is on us.  Which reminds me: I complained at the time, and I will repeat it now: Freese should have been called up to STL last September. The experience would have been valuable to him. Think of the jump-start he would have gotten by playing some games in the bigs late in 2008. Freese has work to do. He must improve his plate discipline and ratchet up his walk rate to have a fighting chance for quick big-league success. I wish him well. 

You might also find this synopsis of one of Freese’s interviews interesting.

What do you think? Will Freese break the starting lineup out of Spring Training? Comment on this post!

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Guzman, Cruz, Bonine, Freese

The Seattle Mariners have invited Freddy Guzman to Spring Training.

Luis Cruz is not at the Pitsburgh Pirate’s voluntary mini-camp because of his commitment to take part in the Rookie Career Development Program.

Eddie Bonine will particiapte in the Detroit Tigers’ Winter Caravan next week.

David Freese is in Illinois tomorrow for autograph signings:

  • 12:30pm – Round Barn Banquet Centre, 1900 Round Barn Rd, Champaign, Illinois
  • 6:00pm – Decatur Conference Center & Hotel, 4191 US Hwy 36 West, Decatur, Illinois
  • Fort Fragments (Wizards): Freese, Blanks, Link, +more

    Lots of items being written about Wizards alumni lately. I’ve been sitting on a few of the links, so they may be a bit older, but are still relevant and worth the read. Feast on these:

    Anthony Contreras (Former Saltdogs Still Chasing Big-League Dreams) is one of a handful of former Lincoln Saltdogs who have gone from Indy leaguer to minor league prospect.

    Matt Teague (Relief on the way with Teague) discusses his transition from starting pitcher to reliever, changing his mechanics and his unexpected adventures at Triple-A.

    David Freese is the subject of a solid Prospect Watch at rotoprofessor. Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak has also stated that Freese may see time at several positions during Spring Training; which is why they aren’t pursuing a backup at first or third during the offseason.

    Kyle Blanks’ future with San Diego may be as trade material due to being sandwiched between Adrian Gonzalez and Allan Dykstra according to Marc Hulet at FanGraphs. Speaking of Blanks, he is number three on Project Prospects top five prospect risers in the San Diego System. Kellen Kulbacki, Cedric Hunter, Chase Headley and Steve Garrison are the others. Observers will also note that local native, Jarrod Parker makes the cut ont he Arizona list.

    Luis Cruz, according to Black and Gold, still remains a viable option for the Pirates’ infield; especially if Jack Wilson is traded.

    Jon Link’s walk rate went up a bit when he went from High-A to Double-A ball. SoxMachine has a theory.

    JJ Furmaniak got his MLB cup of coffee with the Pirates and A’s then played 2008 in Japan after refusing his outright from Oakland. He’s back in the homeland. The Phillies gave him a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Speaking of Japan, Dirk Hayhurst’s latest NonProspect Diary talks about the Japan route a minor leaguer might take.

    Freddy Guzman was traded by the Rangers to the Tigers for Chris Shelton in 2007. The Dalla Observer rates that trade a C and thinks Guzman still has a chance to be a qualify fourth outfielder.

    Cory Doyne was granted free agency from Baltimore.

    Matt Bush has added a new pitch. Changeup.

    Former Wizards pitching coach, Steve Webber will serve in that role with San Antonio in 2009. JoJo Tarantino, who has worked with the Wizards the last three seasons, will be the Missions’ Athletic Trainer next season. former Wizards skipper, Randy Ready, is back for another round at Triple-A Portland after flirting with the job in Seattle during the offseason. Another former Wizards pitching coach, Wally Whitehurst will serve the role for the Pittsburgh Pirate’s High-A Lynchburg squad.

    Finally, several former Wizards pop up on top prospect lists all over the web. Some of them include; Baseball Intellect [1-5] and [6-15], Padres Rundown [top 25], MadFriars’ (subscription required) Denis Savage [top 60] and John Conniff’s [top 30], Ducksnorts’ [top 10],