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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 44: Caleb Freeman

This reliever once on the upswing saw his control and health desert him last summer

Mesa Solar Sox v Glendale Desert Dogs
After a 2021 that saw him selected for the Arizona Fall League, 2022 was a step back for Caleb Freeman.
Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Caleb Freeman
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
195 pounds
Age: 25
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 50
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 32
2022 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 18
2022 High Level Birmingham (AA)
Age relative to high level -0.4 years
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system 8
Overall 2022 season stats 0-0 ⚾️ 18 games (5 finished) ⚾️ 17 1⁄3 IP ⚾️ 7.27 ERA ⚾️ 1.615 WHIP ⚾️ 18 K ⚾️ 15 BB

Despite incredible stuff, Caleb Freeman struggled for Texas Tech largely because of his lack of control and command. His best year with the Red Raiders was as a sophomore in 2018, when he finished with a 5.18 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 22 contests spanning 33 innings, as he allowed 35 hits and 18 walks while fanning 31. Freeman’s junior season this year saw him slip to a 6.89 ERA and 2.49 WHIP in 15 2⁄3 innings, as he relinquished 26 hits (.388 OBA) and 13 walks (16.3%) while also striking out 13. The White Sox drafted Freeman, however, in the 15th round in 2019 with the hopes that they could help him reach his high ceiling.

Freeman did well at all three of his stops (AZL, Great Falls and Kannapolis) that year. In a combined 17 games totaling 24 2⁄3 innings, he saved four with a 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. In those innings, Freeman allowed just 15 hits (.170 OBA) and nine walks (8.9%) while striking out a whopping 38 batters (37.6%). It’s like he found his control and command overnight. He, like nearly everyone else, missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic shutdown.

The goal for Freeman in 2021 was to prove that his professional results in 2019 were no fluke — especially given him being cited specifically by farm director Chris Getz as the system’s reliever to watch that summer. By all accounts, he did just that. In 25 appearances for Winston-Salem, Freeman posted a 3.62 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. In in 27 1⁄3 innings for the Dash, he surrendered 22 hits (.218 OBA) and 14 walks (12.1%) while striking out 33 (28.4%). Most of his control issues occurred in May and June, as he was still trying to shake off some rust. Freeman was promoted to Birmingham at the end of July, and performed even better. In 14 games totaling 16 2⁄3 innings, he produced a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 WHIP by relinquishing just 15 hits (.231 OBA) and five walks (7.1%) while fanning 22 (31.4%).

In 2022, just as Freeman (buoyed by a select to the AFL after the 2021, to boot) could afford to make tentative plans for the South Side later in the summer, everything fell apart. Or, more likely, there were injury issues from the jump, as the ascendant righty walked six of 13 batters to open the season and saw little consistent use, a telltale sign of trouble. FanGraphs reported his velocity as being down several ticks by the time Freeman was rehabbing in the ACL at summer’s end.

Freeman’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Durability 78
Strikeouts 63
vs. Power 59
Hittable 59
K/BB 41
Walks 31
Team Winning Percentage .511

At this point, it’s time to be frank: With Freeman’s season lost to injury and seeming loss of control — not a strong point of his to begin with — being ranked in our Top 50 is merely a courtesy given to someone once give a “hottest pen arm” tag. He’s as far from the South Side as ever, and even if full health is forthcoming, the setbacks of 2022 could stick.

At best, Freeman will suit up for Birmingham for the third time, and hope that he regains the consistency recently lost.

2023 South Side Sox Top 101 White Sox Prospects

44. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
45. Hunter Dollander, RHSP
46. Chase Solesky, RHSP
47. Godwin Bennett, RF
48. Wilber Sánchez, SS
49. Tyler Neslony, LF
50. Mario Camilletti, 2B
51. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
52. Jacob Burke, CF
53. Moisés Castillo, SS
54. Victor Quezada, 3B
55. Edgar Navarro, RHRP
56. Craig Dedelow, RF
57. Darío Borrero, 1B
58. Michael Turner, C
59. Tyler Osik, 1B
60. Haylen Green, LHRP
61. Mark McLaughlin, RHRP
62. Terrell Tatum, LF
63. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
64. Randel Mondesí, LF
65. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
66. Declan Cronin, RHRP
67. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
68. Colby Smelley, C
69. Ethan Hammerberg, RHRP
70. Lincoln Henzman, RHRP
71. Vince Vannelle, RHRP
72. Brooks Baldwin, 3B-2B
73. James Beard, CF
74. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
75. Ronny Hernandez, C
76. Troy Claunch, C
77. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
78. Tim Elko, 1B
79. Yoelvín Silven, RHRP
80. Trey Jeans, LHRP
81. Jerry Burke, RHSP
82. Carlos Jiménez, 1B
83. Mason Adams, RHSP
84. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
85. Ernesto Jaquez, RHSP
86. Laz Rivera, 3B
87. Xavier Fernández, C
88. Álvaro Agüero, CF
89. Ben Norman, RF
90. Erick Bello, RHRP
91. Adisyn Coffey, RHRP
92. Arnold Prado, RF
93. Alsander Womack, 2B
94. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
95. Evan Skoug, C
96. Noah Owen, RHSP
97. Javier Mora, 2B
98. Will Kincanon, RHRP
99. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
100. Billy Seidl, RHRP
101. José Rodulfo, RHRP