Cleveland Guardians: Expect to see top prospect Tyler Freeman in 2022
The Cleveland Guardians have a number of prospects knocking on the door of the majors, and top prospect Tyler Freeman – who should be in Cleveland in 2022 – is one of the most exciting.
Tyler Freeman was recently named the Cleveland Guardians’ top prospect by Baseball America, and for good reason. He was on fire at Double-A Akron this year, hitting .323/.372/.470 with two home runs, 14 doubles, and a 130 wRC+ before suffering a labrum tear in his left shoulder in June, which ultimately required season-ending surgery in August.
Those stats were just a continuation of the 22-year-old’s minor-league career; across four seasons, Freeman has hit .319/.378/.445 with an average wRC+ of 134 across the five levels at which he’s played.
So despite the slight injury setback, there’s no reason to temper one’s excitement for Freeman, who could very quickly become the Guardians’ second baseman (or shortstop?!) of the future.
The Cleveland Guardians expect Tyler Freeman to make his debut in 2022
Freeman has the exact hitter profile Cleveland is trying to develop in the minors and ultimately insert throughout its major-league lineup. He’s aggressive, yet hardly ever strikes out (he has an incredible 9.2% strikeout rate in the minors), excelling at getting the bat on the ball. Freeman is likely never going to be a major power threat, but that won’t matter if he’s still squaring everything up – a third of his hits went for extra bases in 2021.
As of right now, Freeman has been developing in the minors as a shortstop, but second base feels like the far more logical choice in the long run given the team’s need at the position. Not to mention the Guardians have a bounty of other shortstop prospects to choose from… assuming a few don’t find themselves as part of a trade or two after the lockout. For good measure, Freeman has also seen time at third base, which only further helps his cause.
Assuming Freeman bounces back from surgery as expected and puts up his typical numbers at Triple-A Columbus to start 2022, Guardians fans should be ready for Freeman’s major-league debut sometime in the middle of next season. He was recently added to the team’s 40-man roster, partly for Rule 5 draft protection, but also because the Guardians surely see Freeman as being ready to contribute in the majors. His exceptional eye at the plate should give him the chance to make an immediate impact.
The only question will be how Freeman fits into an already crowded infield without much room to currently maneuver. Obviously third base is taken, and it appears the Guardians are willing to roll with Amed Rosario as their everyday shortstop for the time being. Second base looks to be a fight among Ernie Clement, Andrés Giménez, Owen Miller, Freeman when he’s ready and maybe even Richie Palacios… and this is without even mentioning where fellow top prospect Gabriel Arias ultimately fits into all of this.
No doubt some of these players are going to be dangled out there as trade bait, possibly for outfield help. But right now, it’s an embarrassment of prospect riches for the Cleveland Guardians.