Prospect profiles are a series of articles devoted to the Atlanta minor league system, each write-up will focus on a particular prospect and will feature an explanation of his strengths , weaknesses and organizational standing. In today's article we'll focus on first baseman Freddie Freeman. The Braves have rolled through first baseman like Tiger Woods goes through........nevermind, the point is Atlanta hasn't been able to find a long-term solution for the position. Rico Brogna, Adam LaRoche, Mark Teixiera, Andres Galarraga, Robert Fick, Julio Franco, Casey Kotchman, and Scott Thorman are among the players that have seen time at first withing the last ten years and Troy Glaus is the newest of the candidtates. The Braves are hopeful that Freddie Freeman will finally be able to bring some stability and production to the position. He'll start the year in Gwinnett where a big season could prepare him for an role with Atlanta next year.
Key 2009 numbers combined from his time at Myrtle Beach and Mississippi
404 AB, 27 2B, 8 HR, 37 BB, 60 SO, .282 BA, .363 OBP, .408 SLG
- Smooth left-handed offense - With an ability to drive the ball and an advanced idea of what to do at the plate, Freeman should be an above-average offensive player at the major league level.
- Love the glove - Freeman gets high marks for his defense at first base, he's a good athlete that can move around the base well enough to cut off errant throws and quick line drives. He was a highly thought of prep pitcher, and he retains a strong throwing arm.
- Power outage - Touted a future power threat coming up through the minors, Freeman saw his power numbers decline last year and his eight homers were much lower than many had expected.
Prospect Upside Grade - B+
Freddie probably won't hit for elite power numbers, but he should be able to bang out 20-25 homers a year, that combined with his overall hitting ability and defensive prowess should make him good, and maybe borderline great first baseman.
Prospect Safety Grade - A-
I think Freeman is a pretty safe bet to reach the majors and play at a level that approaches his potential. He's moved quickly through the minor leagues and has shown the ability to make adjustments as he climbs the minor league ladder. He also get high marks for his makeup and willingness to put in the work needed to improve his game.
Freeman is the top first baseman in the system and is widely considered the long-term answer for the Braves revolving door at first base. With a good minor league season, he could position himself for a major league spot next season.