Interview: Cardinals Prospect Samuel Freeman

Moved up to Palm Beach to finish his first professional season, the lefty talks with Kelly Mulligan about his past as well as his whirlwind 2008.

Editor's note: For the duration of the Palm Beach Cardinals' 2008 playoff run, our local Florida correspondent will be none other than "mulligirl" from our fine Message Board community.


In real life, that would be none other than Kelly Mulligan, mother of Palm Beach pitcher Casey Mulligan. Kelly is obviously in a great position to report on the local happenings as the Cardinals enter the Florida State League playoffs.


Today, we begin with Kelly's interview with pitcher Samuel Freeman. The 21-year-old native of Carrollton, TX was signed this June after being drafted by the Cardinals for a second consecutive season.


While pitching for Johnson City, Freeman went 4-1 with a 4.44 ERA. In 24.1 Appalachian League innings, he struck out 34 while issuing 12 walks. The southpaw held left-handed hitters to a .087 average. When the Appy League season ended, Freeman was added to the Palm Beach roster. In his initial Florida State League outing, Samuel spun two hitless, shutout innings on one walk and he struck out four.


As you'll see below, Freeman was an easy interview for Kelly as she had to ask only one question to get the discussion going! Thanks to Kelly and Samuel both!


If you want to catch the rest of Kelly Mulligan's reports from Palm Beach, join The Birdhouse today! Take advantage of our seven-day free trial to check out all of our exclusive content.



Kelly Mulligan: How old were you when you started playing baseball?


Samuel Freeman: Four years old - in the Carrollton Little League, Carrollton, TX. I played there until I was 12 or 13 years old. Then I played with Carrollton Pony Baseball. When I was 12, our team won the league.


I made the Varsity Team my sophomore year in (Hebron) High School. I got called up because of my baserunning and defense. I was a centerfielder. I started pitching in high school my freshman year, but I was never that explosive. It was during my senior year when I broke out and was dominant. I didn't want to pitch; I wanted to play outfield.


My junior year, we made the playoffs for the first time in school history. We won 12 games in district and made the playoffs. My senior year we were a game away from going to State, but we lost to Midway, two games in a row, best of three. The score was 8-3 in first game and 3-0 in the second on a one hitter. They had a dominant pitcher who is now in the Pirates organization. They rallied and we lost. I grew up playing with those teammates and when it came to an end it was sad. I hit .364 my senior year playing centerfield and pitching.


I was going to join the Army, but then coach Mark Allen saw me pitch and then that is where my opportunity came into play. He recruited me to North Central Texas College in Gainesville TX. I played two years there.


My coach took me to a pitching clinic over Christmas break, because we were clashing over my wanting to be a centerfielder and him wanting me be a pitcher. I went to the pitching clinic in Oklahoma and that's where I realized I was a good pitcher. We got on the same page and I decided to focus on pitching.


My first game pitching during my freshman year of Junior college, my fastball was clocking at 93 MPH. Then I knew my best chances of making the major leagues were as a pitcher. There was a Giants scout there and he approached me about a future in MLB. I finished the season with 15 innings, 15 strikeouts, 15 walks, and 7.80 ERA. I was disappointed with my results.


That summer I played with an 18 U travel team, and I worked on my pitching. I struggled there too, and I got discouraged. But deep inside I said, ‘I am going to make this work'. I practiced and studied the mental game of baseball the by the book, trying to figure out how to be successful.


In the fall I drew interest from four colleges and was still pitching and playing center. Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, University of New Orleans and Marshall were the four. I ended up signing with Marshall University.


I didn't pitch that much my sophomore year in Junior College (in 2007), until another starter went on the DL. Then I got a win versus Grayson JC when they were ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Then I earned another start. I kept doing well and I ended up with a 10-1 record for the season.


I went to Marshall for one semester and then I was drafted by the Cardinals in the 24th round (in 2007). I passed it up and stayed in college, but left Marshall (before the next baseball season started) as I didn't feel they were putting my best interests first. So then I signed with the Kansas University Jayhawks (for 2008). I started in the rotation going 4-0, then I struggled, and finished 4-1 with an ERA of 8.53.


Joe Calmar invited me to a workout and I was drafted again by the Cardinals in the 32nd round (of the 2008 draft) and I signed. I reported to mini-camp in June and then started the season in the Johnson City bullpen.


The best thing about playing baseball for JC was the teammates and coaches, and the atmosphere. Every day was fun, as there was always something new going on.


My best game was in August versus the Rays. I lost the save, they charged me with two runs that weren't mine, a two-run home run, but I was really happy with my results. My fastball was 93-94 MPH, my cut fastball was 83-91 and I struck out four in 1 1/3 innings.


When I got the call up to Palm Beach it was surreal. It was very satisfying. I was really working hard outside of my training with the team, so it was very gratifying to see the results of my work.


My first outing at Palm Beach was really cool because I showed that I was able to compete at that level.


This season has almost been unreal. Everything has happened really fast. I am living my dream of playing baseball as a living.


I am doing my best and I hope to see you in St. Louis.




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