Oakland always has a way of turning a no name prospect into a legitimate major league player. Sometimes even all stars. Just look at Josh Donaldson. There is someone else, however that may have been overlooked by many because all of the attention was on Donaldson. His name is Nate Freiman, and he is our A’s Player of the Day.
Nate Freiman was a very pleasant surprise in 2013. I remember when I heard about the A’s claiming Freiman and that he had to stay on the roster or they would lose him. There was only a week left until they had to make a decision on the guy. I thought this guy wasn’t going to make the roster, and that he wouldn’t be an Oakland A for long. Boy was I wrong. They kept Freiman and he made his major league debut in the green and gold on April 3. Freiman ended up being in a platoon role with Moss for most of the season. He ended the season with a .274 average and an OBP of .327. He played in a total of 80 games.
There was more to Freiman’s debut season than just his stats though. Freiman had arguably one of the best moments of the entire season. I’m talking about his walk off hit off of the legendary Mariano Rivera. Think about it; it’s the 18th inning, an entire extra game has been played. The Yankees have put in their legendary closer, and there are runners on base. Here comes Big Nate up to the plate. A rookie platoon player is in a position to walk off against a future hall of famer. No one expects him to do it, not against Rivera. And what happens? Freiman breaks his bat sending the ball straight to right field for the walk off win. The A’s swept the Yankees in Oakland and in the most dramatic way possible. And it was all thanks to Nate Freiman.
Freiman was a platoon player with Moss at first base. Frieman wasn’t just your average first basemen though. Freiman is 6 feet 8 inches. That comes in handy for throws that would usually fly over an average first basemen. Frieman has a huge reach and that proved useful for the A’s. He may not have had spectacular numbers, but Freiman was a big asset (both figuratively and literally) for the A’s in 2013 on first base. He sure was fun to watch go from just a name that might not be on the roster to a great major league player that was here to stay. Unfortunately Freiman suffered a rib injury that kept him out at the end of season and he did not get to play in the ALDS with the rest of team. Nonetheless, they might not have made it there without a couple of his big moments.
Offense and Defense 2014
Freiman is a bit tricky to predict for next season. I don’t expect he’ll get as much playing time with Nick Punto joining the team. Moss might take over first base and Freiman might be the odd man out. However Freiman does have a chance. If he wants to improve upon last season, he’ll have to prove himself over some of the other guys at spring training. The job isn’t necessarily up for grabs, but he surprised us in 2013 and he might just be able to do it again in 2014.