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It has been a long and injured road to the South Side for Caleb Freeman.
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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 53: Caleb Freeman

He’s got the stuff, but not always the health

Caleb Freeman
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
195 pounds
Age: 26
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 50
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking: 32
2022 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 18
2023 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 44
2022 High Level Charlotte (AAA)
Age relative to high level -1.9 years
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system 8
Overall 2022 season stats 0-2 ⚾️ 3 SV ⚾️ 35 games (16 finished) ⚾️ 34 IP ⚾️ 3.71 ERA ⚾️ 1.882 WHIP ⚾️ 38 K ⚾️ 31 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.

At least the 2023 season brought a return to relative health for Freeman, as he shaved his months missed down from three in 2022 to two in 2023. His work in Birmingham to start the season, pre-injury, was solid (1.96 ERA) but post-rehab in the ACL, Triple-A treated him ghastly (6.08 ERA in 12 games and a WHIP more than 2). At any level, Freeman has failed to shake the wildness that made him risky even as a 15th-rounder, way back when.

Freeman’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Durability 78 (unchanged from 2022)
Strikeouts 63 (0)
vs. Power 55 (-4)
Hittable 55 (-4)
K/BB 35 (-6)
Walks 26 (-5)

Despite the White Sox loading up on AAAA fringe arms and (presumably) younger relief help moving up the ladder, Freeman still exists as a very plausible option to break north with the club this spring, or at least get on the Charlotte-to-Chicago shuttle that is sure to operate all summer. But his health and command are huge question marks that could find him sitting helplessly as other arms cut in line before him.

[Note: The makeup of the White Sox minors changes over the long course of this project, shifting ratings. The February 3 trades with Seattle and Arizona have added three highly-rated prospects to our list, sliding players down. The list below represents our updated rankings, although the stories they link to will retain original rankings (example, No. 56 Troy Claunch originally was our No. 55 prospect).]

2024 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

53. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
54. Jake Peppers, RHSP
55. Shane Murphy, LHRP
56. Troy Claunch, C
57. Edrick Felix, 2B
58. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
59. Edgar Navarro, RHRP
60. Lucas Gordon, LHSP
61. Andrew Pérez, LHRP
62. Javier Mogollon, 2B
63. Aldrin Batista, RHSP
64. Ryan Castillo, 1B
65. Bryce Willits, 3B
66. Colby Smelley, C
67. Wes Kath, 3B
68. Alsander Womack, 2B
69. Jordan Sprinkle, SS
70. Connor McCullough, RHSP
71. Luis Rodriguez, RHRP
72. Jonah Scolaro, LHRP
73. Ben Beutel, LHRP
74. Stiven Flores, C
75. Adrian Gil, 1B
76. Yohemy Nolasco, RHRP
77. Ben Norman, LF
78. Josimar Cousín, RHSP
79. Juan Gonzalez, C
80. Chris Lanzilli, LF
81. Alex Speas, RHRP
82. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
83. Garrett Wright, RHRP
84. Duke Ellis, CF
85. Mathias LaCombe, RHRP
86. Godwin Bennett, RF
87. Rikuu Nishida, LF
88. Caden Connor, LF
89. Zach Franklin, RHRP
90. Jeremy González, LHSP
91. Jerry Burke, RHRP
92. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
93. Mikey Kane, 3B
94. Carlton Perkins, RHSP
95. Tyler Neslony, LF
96. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
97. Jason Matthews, SS
98. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
99. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
100. Daniel González, LHRP

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