A's 12th-Round Pick Freese Ready For Pro Ball

Two years ago, Dakota Freese had his name called late in the MLB draft. The timing wasn't right for the right-hander to turn pro at that time. Two years later, Freese's name was called much earlier in the draft and this time the timing couldn't be more perfect for the Iowa native to start his professional career.

One of Oakland's first signings of this year's draft will be Des Moines Area Community College right-hander Dakota Freese, a 12th-round selection who can't board the flight to Phoenix, Arizona, soon enough to continue his baseball career.

The 6'3'', 190-pound hurler says that day will come on Tuesday, when he realizes a childhood dream by signing a professional contract and joining the A's rookie camp.

"Negotiations are already over," Freese said. "[Area scout] Kevin [Mello] is coming to my house [Monday] and I'm going to be signing a paper. Then I go to Phoenix on Tuesday to sign the contract and start camp.

"Ever since I was a little boy watching baseball on TV, it's been a dream of mine that I could be playing and maybe winning a World Series for a major league club. All through high school that dream started getting closer and I went to college and it got bigger and bigger. Here I am right now."

Freese, who hails from the same city in Iowa that produced former A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney, said Mello had been evaluating him for a while and originally contacted him prior to the 2012 draft.

The right-hander will go down as one of the easiest signs for the A's in this year's draft. Freese is ready to go pro after bettering his draft stock from having been a 34th-round selection by the Chicago White Sox in 2011 to his 12th-round status this time around.

Before pitching at DMACC this season, Freese had been enrolled at LSU-Eunice but was academically ineligible for the 2012 campaign. He graduated from Cedar Rapids (IA) Washington High School in 2011, but a school-imposed suspension during his senior season hurt his draft stock.

"The White Sox didn't give me an offer at that point," Freese said. "They thought I was asking for a little too much and kind of wanted me to go college to do a little growing up and see how I do at the college level.

"I made a really big jump when I got out of Eunice and got into the pre-draft for 2012. I did a lot of work to help get my control down. I went to DMACC and it really showed. I was in top shape and had the best control I've ever had. I made a big jump in the draft and am glad where I'm at."

The right-hander features a five-pitch mix that includes four- and two-seam fastballs, a slider, curveball and changeup. His fastball was clocked as high as 97 MPH this spring, making him an appealing choice for Oakland in the 12th round.

"I've always been a starter, but can also be a closer or reliever," Freese said. "Anywhere they want to put me, I'll be happy to go. They're going to have me pitch once or twice and see how I do. From what we've heard, I have a chance to jump past rookie ball and go straight to short-season ball."

Freese posted huge strikeout numbers in his lone year at DMACC, to go along with a 7-1 record and 2.66 ERA in 12 starts. He struck out 90 batters and allowed just 32 hits in 61 innings. He said his control continues to improve, although he walked 41 batters this season.

The newest Oakland pitcher said he has heard a lot of good things about the organization.

"I knew they were a good club," Freese said. "Everybody has been calling me and telling me they're a good club for pitchers, so I'm excited to get there and see how much I'm going to grow."

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