So much of the prospect talk this year has been about Tommy Hanson, Jordan Schafer, and Jason Heyward, and all those prospects are very deserving of all the talk and praise that has been piled up on them. But there is another young prospect for Atlanta who is doing just as good as any prospect we have; one who may have just as large of an eventual impact on the Atlanta roster. His name is Freddie Freeman.
Ranked in 2009 as Baseball America's 87th-best minor league prospect, Freeman has done nothing but improve that ranking by hitting .317 this season, increasing his batting average each month from April (.253), to May (.333), to June (.366). The afore mentioned Baseball America has listed him several times on their hotsheet, and do so again this week:
...Though his seven-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-5, three strikeout performance, 1B Freddie Freeman (Braves) has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games for High Class A Myrtle Beach. He only played in four games this week because of the all-star game, but Freeman, 19, made the most of his opportunities. A second-round pick in 2007, Freeman registered seven hits in 17 at-bats and scored five runs, upping his season totals to .317/.395/.474...
Adding to the praise by BA, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus spotlights Freeman as one of yesterday's top performers, saying this about the young first baseman:
Freeman had a breakout season in 2008, but the pitching haven that is Myrtle Beach turned out to be a challenge, at least initially for Freeman, who hit just .253 in his first 20 games. Now 12-for-24 in his last six games and batting .317/.395/.474 overall in 63 games, he's back to looking like one of the best pure hitters in the Carolina League.
Freeman's power is down this year, having only hit 1 homerun on the road (5 at home), but he is hitting plenty of doubles, leading the team with 18.
When we do our mid-year top-25 prospects at the MLB All-Star break, I fully expect that Freeman will be listed on most people's list as the number-2 prospect in the Braves system.