Cleveland Guardians: Is Tyler Freeman the team’s future leadoff hitter?

Cleveland Indians, Tyler Freeman

Tyler Freeman #68 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Guardians’ future leadoff hitter could be coming this summer in the form of prospect Tyler Freeman.

Drafted directly out of Etiwanda High School (Rancho Cucamonga, California) in 2017 to the Cleveland Guardians organization, Tyler Freeman has been moving through the team’s minor-league system at a steady pace, showing his bat-to-ball skills along the way.

In 2020 his scouting report looked like this (scale up to 80):

  • Hitting: 60
  • Power: 40
  • Field: 50
  • Arm: 50
  • Speed: 55

On paper, there’s nothing particularly exciting that stands out, but Freeman was always said to have some of the best pure hitting skills on every team he’s played for. And during his time in the minors, that has certainly proven to be accurate.

During his first year playing rookie ball in the Arizona Fall League, Freeman batted .297 with a .364 on-base percentage in 36 games. Not exactly a huge sample size, but certainly a solid start to his young career.

In his second professional season, Freeman played for Mahoning Valley, appearing in 72 games and hitting .352/.405/.511 with 29 doubles in 270 at-bats. Continuing to display his ability to control the strike zone and put the bat on the ball, the 2019 season proved to be much of the same, as Freeman played for both Low-A Lake County and High-A Lynchburg. Freeman once again put up some serious numbers, with a combined batting average over .300 and an OBP just below .370.

I would almost be repeating myself if it wasn’t for Freeman’s unfortunate shoulder surgery in August of this past season. Until that point, Freeman’s 2021 offensive numbers were as expected. Playing with Double-A Akron, he hit .323/.372/.470 with two home runs, 14 doubles, and a 130 wRC+.

If all goes well and he continues to produce, look for Tyler Freeman to break into the big leagues this summer with the Cleveland Guardians. Hopefully he’ll continue the solid consistency he has proven to have up until now. With the Guardians looking for their latest crop of young players to step up and produce, Freeman could be the next to join the top of Cleveland’s lineup for years to come.