When the Houston Astros selected former Blue Devil first basemen Nate Freiman in the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason, most considered him to be a long shot to make Houston’s opening day roster. How is the big guy doing in his first MLB camp? hit the jump for more details.March 05, 2013; Viera, FL, USA; A general view from the outfield during a spring training game between Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Washington defeated Houston 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Freiman, who the Astros plucked away from the San Diego Padres in the Rule 5 draft, has been up-and-down so far in Spring Training. He currently has a slash-line of .263/.263/.368, with six strikeouts and just 3 RBIs and zero homeruns in 19 at-bats. While those stats aren’t particularly awful, a Rule-5 draftee such as Freiman usually needs to over-perform in order to secure a roster spot.
With the Astros moving to the power-loaded AL West, they’re looking to Freiman as a possible power source, but the 6’7, 225 lb first baseman has yet to homer this Spring Training. Is this a huge concern? No, because Freiman has shown consistent power numbers during his time in the minor leagues and 19 at-bats is an awfully small sample. Of course, a dinger here or there certainly wouldn’t hurt his chances.
While the odds are against him, I will say this: if Freiman is going to break into the MLB this season, the Houston Astros are the perfect team to do it on. The Astros have little set in stone and their move to the American League has left a team that was previously a DH-less one with a large void to fill. If anything, the Astros are a very young team, meaning they have a lot of players with a lot of options left. If they so choose, they could give Freiman a longer look during the early stages of the regular season in favor of someone else, rather than opting to offer him back to the San Diego Padres.