We’re at the top 10 in our 2014 MLB draft prospects rankings. The collegiate game nabs four of the five spots in this go around. Three promising hurlers and a potentially special bat make up those four. The lone prep representative owns as polished an arm as you could imagine.
10. Kyle Freeland, Evansville, LHP, 6′ 3″, 170 lbs.
The Philadelphia Phillies selected Freeland in 2011. It was the 35th round, so as you would expect, Freeland headed to Evansville. It wasn’t pretty for his first couple of seasons, but after his sophomore year, Freeland headed to the Cape Cod League and a metamorphosis began.
2014 has been pretty darn good to the Purple Aces ace.
Freeland was recently named to the final 18 on the Pitcher of the Year watch list and a member Louisville Slugger All-American Team. For this season, Freeland posted a record of 10-2 with a 1.90 ERA and 0.927 WHIP. He struck out 128 batters while walking only 13 (9.85 SO/BB, 11.6 SO/9) in 99.2 innings. Opposing hitters struggled to hit .214 off Freeland.
And he didn’t allow a single home run.
The fastball sits comfortably in the low 90’s with a top end of 95. While that appears to be the norm these days, Freeland’s has some downward movement. His mid 80’s slider will bear in on the hands of right-handed hitters. He throws a slower version, around 80, but it doesn’t have the effectiveness as the other. The changeup is high quality and might be the best he owns.
The stride toward home isn’t particularly long. I felt like the release had a bit of a whip to it. If he got too long with the stride, he could lose the command he’s worked so hard to attain. That’s been the main difference between his first two years and this past season.