2008 Cardinals Prospect #13a – David Freese

FREE sample today – Merry Christmas! The third baseman, acquired from San Diego for Jim Edmonds, enters our list highly-ranked among Cardinals prospects. Will he continue to stand out as he makes the challenging step up to Double-A in 2008?

Editor's note: Our top 40 prospect list was compiled in November. As a result, after the fact, each of the four voters identified where we would have placed both trade acquisition Freese and Rule 5 pickup Brian Barton on our individual top 40 lists had the two been with the Cardinals back in November. With the four lists consolidated, Freese would have ranked between number 13 and number 14 on our master list, hence his assignment here as "13a". Barton's day in the sun is yet to come.

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: NA

Position: 3B

DOB: 4/28/1983

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 225

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: University of South Alabama

Became a Cardinal: Acquired via trade from the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jim Edmonds and $2 million cash on December 15, 2007.

2007 stats































Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (12a): Where I slotted Freese came down to a comparison between Allen Craig and him. Both were drafted in 2006 so have relatively the same professional experience. Both play the hot corner. Both spent the majority, if not all, of their season at the High-A level. While much has been made of the fact that Freese played in the hitter-friendly California League while Craig toiled in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, each team had comparable 2007 Park Multipliers.

Craig is just over fourteen months younger than Freese and showed a bit more pop to his bat. Freese displayed more patience at the plate and was a better run producer. Yes, Freese was a bit old for High-A but he was blocked by top prospect Chase Headley. In many other organizations Freese would have been promoted to Double-A.

The deciding factor for me was the reported difference in their defensive capabilities. While it is still uncertain whether Craig can remain at third base long-term, Freese was voted the best defensive player in the California League.

Dustin Mattison (20a): The Lafayette High grad was just recently added to the system in the trade that sent Jim Edmonds to the Padres. He adds much needed right-handed power to a system lacking in that department. At Lake Elsinore, a pitcher's park in a notoriously hitter-friendly league, Freese hit .302/.400/.489 with 17 home runs and 96 RBIs. Scouts love his above average power, bat speed, and strike zone judgment. Coming out of college, scouts were mixed on his ability to stay at third but with a superb work ethic, he has proved his ability to play third base.

Freese will turn 25 in April so the clock is ticking. With a similar player, Allen Craig, also in the system and penciled in to start the year at Springfield, I could see the Cardinals being aggressive with Freese, starting him at Memphis this year.

Ray Mileur (12a): A California League mid and post-season All-Star, Freese's path in San Diego was blocked at third base by Kevin Kouzmanoff and top prospect Chase Headley. He hit .302/.400/.489 with 17 home runs with the high-A Lake Elsinore Storm last season.

The 24-year-old third baseman has a .307 batting mark, .399 on-base percentage, a .516 slugging percentage and 166 RBIs in 199 games in his first two pro seasons. He could start the season at Springfield, depending on where the Cardinals decide to play another third baseman, Allen Craig.

Brian Walton (11a): According to our partners on the Padres Scout site, MadFriars.com, Freese would have ranked tenth on their organizational prospect list coming into 2008. When looking at Cardinals third base prospects however, as Leonda noted above, the discussion is all about where Freese fits compared to Allen Craig.

Since Craig hasn't yet appeared in this countdown, all I will say now is that I am in the minority among our four voters. Through Craig is a year younger, he and Freese were taken just 17 picks apart in eight and ninth rounds of the 2006 draft. Freese's defense puts him ahead of Craig on my list.

Offensively, Freese drove in 96 runs last season, which would have led the entire Cardinals minor league system by six RBIs. He scored 103 times, ten more than any other Cardinals farmhand, including Colby Rasmus. Some discount Freese's figures because of the reputation of the California League as a hitters' haven. I don't buy it, as Freese posted a .510 SLG in the Midwest League in 2006. The same year in the same league against the same pitching staffs, Rasmus slugged .512 and was pretty much everyone's player of the year in the Cardinals system. Colby is much younger and is a special talent, but it is clear that Freese can hit.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

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