Welcome back, Sam Freeman. Fresh off a scoreless streak that reached 32 innings pitched, Freeman looks primed for another opportunity at the big league level. With Marc Rzepczynski gone and the bullpen depleted after the Shelby Miller injury, the Cardinals needed to make a move. The move was made official this morning–sending down Keith Butler who threw over 40 pitches last night and calling up Freeman.
Just because Freeman is a lefty, don’t think that he is merely a lefty specialist. He has proven capable of getting out right-handed hitters as well, which undoubtedly adds to his value in the big league bullpen. In 41 innings pitched against righties this season, they are hitting just .212 against him. However, he has allowed all three of his home runs to right-handed hitters–the soonest being two nights ago, a three-run homer to deep left field.
Thus, he has proven he can get right-handed hitters out, but based on the home run numbers, he should be used carefully in those situations. In 23 innings pitched against lefties, they are hitting .250 against him. He has yet to allow a home run to a lefty, and has compiled 21 strikeouts to just 4 walks against them. His strikeout rate is largely due to his sweeping slider.
In case you were wondering, here is a quick look at his overall Triple-A statistics so far this season:
He is known as a great athlete with above-average stuff. His fastball ranges in the low to mid 90s and has a sweeping slider that he uses as his “out” pitch. Finally, he has a decent changeup that is in the high 70s, low 80s.
In 20 career innings at the big league level, Freeman is 0-2 with a 5.40 earned run average. Thus, he did not have much success last season, but with a depleted bullpen and the fact that he has had a fantastic season in Memphis, he was the one that deserved that latest call-up.
I am excited to see Freeman get his opportunity, but let’s hope he does not make his season debut tonight. Let’s hope that Carlos Martinez is efficient and goes seven strong innings, leaving the 8th and the 9th for Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica.
Until next time…
Follow me on Twitter: @stlCupofJoe
Member of the STLSportsMinute Network