Kyle Freeland: Colorado Rockies’ Future Lefty SP?


Kyle Freeland continues to excel in the Arizona Fall League, so is he the future left-handed pitcher the Colorado Rockies need?

The Colorado Rockies selected Kyle Freeland with the eighth pick in the first round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Evansville. Before Freeland ultimately decided on pitching in college, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted the young left-hander out of high school in the 2011 draft, but Freeland decided to take the gamble and pitch in college. Freeland is a Denver-native, and he impressed the Rockies while pitching for Evansville.

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Kyle Freeland went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colorado; thus, by the Rockies selecting him in the first round of the 2014 draft, the team brought Freeland back home. In Freeland’s junior season at Evansville, he improved his game and excelled in the Cape Cod League, vaulting his draft stock into the top 10 of the first round. Kyle Freeland possesses three above-average pitches: fastball, slider/cutter, and a change up. Many view his slider to be his “out” pitch at the next level.

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Kyle Freeland does not throw the ball very hard, sitting in the low 90s with his fastball; however, he does have the ability to reach back and touch the mid-90s at times. After signing with the Colorado Rockies, they sent Freeland to Rookie League Grand Junction to start his professional career. Freeland only made five starts for the Grand Junction Rockies, posting a stellar 1.56 ERA and 2.82 FIP. Additionally, he demonstrated a nice feel for the strike zone, walking just above one batter per nine innings.

After pitching just 17.1 innings with Grand Junction, the Colorado Rockies promoted Kyle Freeland to Single-A Asheville. Freeland continued his torrid start to his professional career. In five starts with the Asheville Tourists, Freeland posted a 0.83 ERA and 3.08 FIP, but his walk rate increased slightly. He finished the season with a 1.66 walk rate (BB/9), but that number still is impressive, seeing it was his first professional season.

Although Kyle Freeland made an immediate impact in his first professional season, he missed significant time due to surgery to remove bones chips in his elbow. Despite the surgery, Kyle Freeland pitched effectively in his first professional season. Between Rookie League and Single-A, Freeland accumulate a 3-0 record with a stellar 1.15 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Freeland looked to carry the momentum he gained in his first professional season into 2015.

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In 2014, Kyle Freeland reached Single-A, but the Colorado Rockies believed he could use more work in 2015. Thus, the Rockies started Freeland at Grand Junction again in 2015. Freeland entered the 2015 season ranked as the 60th rated prospect (Baseball America and Freeland made two starts for Grand Junction before being promoted to High-A Modesto. With Modesto, Freeland struggled somewhat, likely due to this being his toughest competition yet. Kyle Freeland made seven starts for the Nuts, posting a 4.76 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 5.06 FIP.

At High-A Modesto, Kyle Freeland gave up more than a hit per inning for the first time in his career, but his walk rate remained below 2.00 (1.82). However, for the first time, Freeland saw his home run rate go over 1.00 per nine innings, increasing t0 1.13 with Modesto. After the 2015 season, the Colorado Rockies wanted to get Kyle Freeland more work; thus, they sent him to the Arizona Fall League to continue to work on his craft.

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Kyle Freeland’s start to the Arizona Fall League was horrendous. In his first start, he gave up six earned runs in just 0.2 innings pitched, leaving people scratching their heads about the former first round pick’s performance. However, over Freeland’s last three starts, he gave up just one earned in 14.0 innings pitched, showcasing the talent he possesses. Hopefully, Freeland continues to develop into a solid pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. While he does not have ace material, he can easily settle in to a number two or three starter down the road.