2008 ranking: #13a (inserted into existing rankings post-trade)
School: University of South Alabama
Became a Cardinal: Acquired from the San Diego Padres in a trade for Jim Edmonds on December 15, 2007.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (6): Most of us weren't sure what to expect from Freese when he came over from the San Diego Padres for Jim Edmonds. To say he a pleasant surprise has to be an understatement. When he came to the Cardinals, there were questions about his defense as well as his ability to hit above the California League. He not only put to rest any questions about his glove but he also skipped a level and had his best season in the minors to date. For his efforts, he was named the Birdhouse's Minor League Player of the Year.
Freese exhibits fine range and a solid glove at third base. At the plate, he shows above average power along with the ability to hit the ball the other way. With a strong work effort and other intangibles, he has put himself in a position to compete for a spot on the big league team in Spring Training. Unfortunately, it seems that he is competing with Joe Mather for a utility role on this year's team. Even if he doesn't break camp with the Cardinals, I would expect him to get a look with his hometown team at some point during 2009.
Ray Mileur (5): The Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year and a contender for the PCL Rookie of the Year Award, Freese hit .306 with 26 HRs and 91 RBIs for the Memphis Redbirds. He got really hot in the second half of the season, hitting .360 with 10 home runs in the final 43 games. Freese finished the season with a line of .306/.361/.550 (BA/OBP/SLG). He played and worked on his skills at third base in the Venezuela League in winter ball, before a wrist injury cut his winter season short. Freese is back in the states and should be ready to start the season at Memphis. I'd say that David has a slight edge over another one of my favorite players, the underrated Allen Craig, to be the Cardinals third-baseman of the future. Regardless, both of them have the Cardinals 2008 first round draft pick, Brett Wallace breathing down their necks.
Message board community (7): David Freese has been much maligned and disregarded due to his advanced age - that was until this past year. Skipping Double A, Fresse was able to put up better numbers than he put up in the A+ level, hitter friendly California League in 2007. Those that think his numbers should be discounted because he was old even for AAA (and there are many) should be aware that there was only 1 hitter younger than Freese among the top 25 in the PCL who put up better power numbers than he did (and that was Brandon Wood - a top 50 rated prospect).
Not only did Freese improve offensively in 2008 so did reports of his defense. While there were mixed reports when he was acquired, recent reports now seem to be universally positive. The only negative on Freese's record from 2008 seems to be a deterioration of his K:BB ratio that also resulted in a decreased OBP. However, with results like Freese attained in 2008, does it matter?
A good spring may give Freese a chance to start the season in STL but most likely he will return to AAA Memphis. However, with Brett Wallace clipping at his heels as the Cards 3B of the future, he may see time at positions other than 3B in order to enhance his versatility and his value to the Cards as either a player or as a trading chip. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (5): I took a some heat one year ago for ranking Freese ahead of in-house third baseman Allen Craig based on his defense! My conviction came from the views of some scouts and our San Diego Scout.com publisher. Yet now most everyone in the Cardinal Nation seems to agree. Still, an even newer Cardinal, Brett Wallace, has since leapfrogged them both and has become the top third baseman in the organizational pecking order.
2009 will be huge for Freese. Through he is not yet on the 40-man roster, and therefore didn't get a September call up in 2008, he needs to find a way to get to St. Louis as quickly as possible. With a lot of spring competition, it may take an injury in the bigs to create an opening, but whenever it occurs, Freese needs to be ready.
The goal should be to prove that he could be the replacement for Troy Glaus, currently heading into the last year of his current contract. Otherwise, the longer it takes, the higher likelihood Wallace could beat him to the punch and effectively cut off Freese's third base future, in this organization at least.
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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