One of the best high school hitters in Southern California in 2017, Freeman appeared headed to Texas Christian until the Indians drafted him in the supplemental second round and signed him for $816,500. After a solid pro debut, he led the short-season New York-Penn League in hitting (.352), slugging (.511), OPS (.916), runs (49), hits (95), doubles (29), extra-base hits (35) and total bases (138) in 2018. He made the jump to full-season ball last season and continued to produce, batting .306/.368/.410 between two Class A levels.
Though Freeman's hitting ability is his lone plus tool, his elite bat-to-ball skills could make him a big league regular. He excels at making line-drive contact to all fields from the right side of the plate, and he could develop 12-15 home run power if he gets stronger and drives the ball in the air more frequently. He could stand to draw more walks, but he puts the ball in play so easily that he rarely works deep counts.
An average runner, Freeman plays quicker than that on the bases and in the field thanks to his high baseball IQ. He's an aggressive baserunner who knows how to pick his spots to steal. He's a reliable defender with sure hands at shortstop, enhancing an average arm with a quick release, though he ultimately might wind up at second base.
Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
One of the top high school hitters in Southern California in 2017, Freeman passed up a strong commitment to Texas Christian to sign for $816,500 as a supplemental second-rounder. After a solid pro debut, he had a spectacular '18, topping the short-season New York-Penn League in hitting (.352), runs (49), hits (95), doubles (29), extra-base hits (35) and total bases (138). He has the highest offensive ceiling among Cleveland's deep pool of young infielders, not to mention some of the best leadership ability and work ethic in the system.
Freeman's elite bat-to-ball skills produce repeated line-drive contact from the right side of the plate. He has such advanced feel for hitting that he could develop close to average power once he adds more strength and drives the ball in the air more often. If there's a knock on his offensive game, it's that he puts the ball in play almost too easily, as he drew only eight walks in 301 plate appearances last year.
Freeman's instincts also stand out on the bases and in the field, where he plays better than his average speed. He's an aggressive runner and proficient basestealer. He has sure hands and makes up for an average arm at shortstop with a quick release, though his tools may fit better at second base.
Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
The Indians made Freeman the highest-drafted player in Etiwanda (Calif.) High history in 2017 when they took him with the No. 71 overall pick in the second Competitive Balance Round. After signing for slot value and forgoing a commitment to Texas Christian, Freeman impressed with his well-rounded game during a successful pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
The Indians targeted Freeman in the Draft for his pure hitting ability and potential to stick at an up-the-middle position. He's a high-contact, line-drive hitter from the right side of the plate, one who should naturally grow into some power in the future. Though not a burner, he is an above-average runner, especially once underway.
Defensively, Freeman shows range and a decent arm as a shortstop, with both tools playing up thanks to his strong instincts. But because his tools aren't overwhelming, many evaluators foresee a move to second down the line. Regardless of his future defensive home, Freeman's bat suggests the floor of a utility player who might perform his way into an everyday role.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Etiwanda High School had seven players drafted in its history, none earlier than the sixth round and none since 2008. Freeman pushed the program's total to eight players in 2017 when the Indians made him the highest-drafted player in school history by taking him in the No. 71 overall pick in the second Competitive Balance Round. He signed for slot value, foregoing a commitment to Texas Christian.
A shortstop in high school, Freeman does have some range and a decent arm, but he tends to play too fast at the position, with many evaluators foreseeing a move to second at the next level. He has the chance to play there every day if his bat continues to develop. Early this spring, Freeman got away from his usual approach, adding a leg kick and trying to show he could hit for more power. When he's at his best, he's a high-contact, line-drive hitter, one who should grow into some power naturally in the future. While he's not a burner, he is an above-average runner, especially once underway.
If Freeman can continue to swing the bat like he's capable, he could develop into a Michael Young type. At worst, he becomes a Mark DeRosa type of utility man.