Exclusive: Tyler Freeman Determined To Bring a World Series to Clevelandby Alex Kielar February 12, 2022 2 comments
Tyler Freeman is the second-ranked prospect on the newly named Cleveland Guardians’ prospect list. The infielder is coming off of season-ending shoulder surgery he underwent in July. Prior to the injury, Freeman had been killing it at Double-A, slashing .323/.372/.470 across 180 plate appearances with two homers and 14 doubles. While there is currently a lockout in the major leagues, Freeman has been able to train and find ways to work his way back from the injury. Since the 2017 second-round pick is part of the 40-man roster, he can’t be a part of normal major league spring training or anything else.
“Offseason is going well, [we are in] kind of in a lockout right now, but I was rehabbing in Arizona first,” Freeman said. “Then when we had to be sent home, I just started finding ways to work out here in Texas and kind of gotten into a routine and been doing well ever since.”
Freeman is a very versatile piece to the Guardians’ team, as he can play most of the infield positions. Versatility is a very key attribute that MLB teams look at nowadays. Cleveland is one of the most prominent teams in looking at versatility. During his rehab, Freeman has looked to add more strength back to his game while still looking to hit the ball to all fields.
“Just obviously working on strength, adding strength to my game,” Freeman said. “Kind of feel like that’s kind of an every off-season type thing, but more so coming back from my injury, definitely adding strength to that shoulder and adding strength into my swing. Kind of working the same stuff, working the entire part of the field, hitting the ball where it’s pitched. Then working stuff on the field whether [that’s] long toss, arm strength, and just being more versatile moving around the diamond, [to] third, short and second.”
Becoming the Guardians
Cleveland recently went through a name change, landing on the Guardians this past year. It is a big transition that players, fans, and the organization will have to go through. But for Freeman, it’s business as usual. For players like him, it’s not as much about the name, but the city you’re playing for. Like Freeman says, it’s about the name Cleveland being across your chest.
“[The name change] was something that was always in the talks,” Freeman said. “Ever since I was drafted in 2017, they were always saying, yeah, it could happen, and now it’s actually coming into reality. The most important thing is keeping the name Cleveland across our chest. We could be named whatever, doesn’t really affect me, per se, but I think it’s cool. I think the logos are unique and very interesting. I just think fans just need some time to get used to the new logo, and I think everything will be fine. If we win a championship using the name Guardians, I think everyone will kind of forget the Indians name.”
Freeman has been able to get to know some of the other top prospects within the organization throughout his professional career. Being supportive of each other is a big key for any organization to have success. That is certainly something that Freeman and the rest of the Guardians’ organization have been able to do. A tight-knit group will always find success, no matter how long it takes. Playing for each other and having fun is always more important than anything else. Success will always follow that.
“I’m close with lots of guys in the organization,” Freeman said. “[I’ve been] keeping in touch with some guys like Nolan Jones, Will Benson, Jose Fermin. Also, guys that are in the big leagues, like Ernie Clement and Owen Miller. Just checking in like we always do with each other, kind of see how our off-seasons are going. Honestly, they’re just big supporters and just making sure on my side the injuries are healing well. We have that strong brotherhood to just check in on each other and hope all as well.”
Playing the Game the Right Way
Derek Jeter had the classic mold of a player that just always played the game the right way. He hit the ball hard to all fields, came up clutch in the playoffs, and was just a tremendous person and teammate. Jeter, the first-ballot Hall of Famer, is obviously someone that a lot of players try to mold their game after. That is no different for Freeman, as he fits the classic “old school” type hitter who doesn’t strike out much and hits to all fields. He also has the opportunity to add some strength and power to his game. Jeter was the same kind of player who naturally added power in his career without really needing to change his approach at the plate.
“Man, who [do] I mold my game after?” Freeman said. “Obviously, Derek Jeter. That would be a great player to look up to and try to mold my game after and all. I just kind of want to play the game the right way. Whether it be modeling it after someone else or just playing my game, I just want to play the game the right way. Not be a distraction on or off the field, and just kind of put my head down while working hard.”
“Growing up I grew up in Southern California,” Freeman continued. “I was a big Dodger fan, so whenever the Dodgers and Yankees would play, they would do their rivalry interleague games. Derek Jeter was just always fun to watch, and he played the game the right way. That’s all I want to be remembered as, to play the game the right way, work hard just like he did, and try to outwork everyone possible.”
Outside of Baseball
Of course, with any athlete, Freeman has hobbies outside of baseball. For the California native, he has been adjusting to life in Texas after moving there four years ago. Texas has a lot of new places to venture off to, so it is always a fun time for Freeman when he’s not on the field or in the weight room.
“I moved out here about four years ago, so [I’m] still kind of getting used to it,” Freeman said. “But there’s a lot of lakes out here. We kind of just go on hikes and stuff while finding new restaurants out here. My brother comes out and works out with me sometimes, so we always kind of venture out to new food places, and the barbecue out here is pretty good. That’s all I got to say. But yeah, just little things like that. Going fishing with my grandpa and just trying to have fun.”
Being a Top Prospect
Being a top prospect in not only the Cleveland but all of baseball is something to be proud of for Freeman. But on top of that, it is something that he tries not to pay too much attention to. If any player gets buried in that too much, they might get lost in their own head. Staying focused on the ultimate goal is the most important thing for any player to do.
“It’s an honor, sometimes it pops up,” Freeman said of the top prospect ranking. “You see it sometimes on MLB Network and you have pop-ups on the bottom of the screen. You got family right there saying stuff. But in the end, it’s cool, but you want to be out there on the big league team winning a Championship with everyone. I can’t really look too much into that stuff, which I don’t. But like I said, I stick my head down and just try to -whether you’re the number one prospect in baseball or not even a prospect at all – I try to keep the same work ethic. Stick my head down and try to outwork everyone possible.”
Again, another sentiment that Jeter shared with the world, and this sounds so much similar. “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder you do – and I believe that.” – Jeter. Freeman might wind up being a Jeter clone and bring a number of championships to Cleveland. Of course, that is a very big sentiment to live up to. Guardians’ fans are hoping for at least just one, as they haven’t won a World Series since 1948 when they defeated the Boston Braves in six games.
Goals for 2022
Making goals are something every player does for every season, personally and for the team. Freeman just hopes to have a healthy season and get to the big leagues. If he can help the city of Cleveland win a World Series during his career, that would be the big accomplishment.
“Obviously, I’ve got to stay healthy,” Freeman said. “Number one thing [is to] have a full healthy season and try to make to the big leagues while helping the Guardians win a World Series. Out of all the years playing I feel like this may be the year where it could actually become a reality. I want the city of Cleveland to win a World Series and I want to be a big part of that.”
“I think we’re going to be the sneaky, sneaky young crew,” Freeman continued. “We have lots of guys coming up who some of them I’ve played with. They’re scary, we have some scary guys coming up and you watch the Guardians are going to pop up out of nowhere. We’re going to be like we kind of knew it was coming.”
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