Nate Freiman is one of a handful of A’s players that are in contention for the final roster spot on the 2014 Opening Day squad. Last season he made the team because he was impressive enough to earn the spot, but was also helped by the fact that he was a Rule 5 Draft pick. Without going into too much detail, Rule 5 picks are drafted from other MLB teams, not from the amateur ranks. After a player is picked, they have to remain in the Majors the entire season, or be returned to their original team. Here is why he deserves to be in Oakland on March 31st:
Brandon Moss is going to be the A’s starting first baseman, no question. The debate in Oakland is whether he will platoon the position with another player. The assumption this January is that Moss will handle the regular duties, and Alberto Callaspo will fill in at first base when Moss needs a day here and there. Those days would presumably come against southpaws, where Moss struggled posting a .200 batting average in 2013. Callaspo hit much better at .268. Lefties are where Freiman shined the most however, batting .304 for the season.
The A’s are a team full of platoons, which both helps and hurts Freiman’s chances. It hurts because there could be 4 players on the roster to man Second Base and Shortstop, with Jed Lowrie getting most of the playing time and the other 3 fighting for playing time every day. The situation is beneficial to Freiman if Bob Melvin decides to have a platoon at First Base because he is a prime candidate.
In further analyzing Freiman’s stats, he showed improvement in the second half while getting fewer at-bats. He received 68 at-bats, roughly half of his first half total, but hit .294, compared to .262. He also hit the same number of Home Runs in each half (2), but had 6 walks in many fewer plate appearances compared to 8 with more opportunities.
These statistics indicate growth at the plate by Nate Freiman. He waited for his pitches more often, and was ready when called upon. These also show that he is a prime candidate to be on the 25-man roster. Not everyone can play every day, that’s just how the game is. But a player has to be ready when called upon to perform, and Freiman showed progress over the course of the season. With another Spring Training under his belt, Nate Freiman could be the ideal 25th man for the 2014 Oakland A’s.