The Braves made a roster move today, sending starting catcher Tyler Flowers to the disabled list for a left hand contusion, and purchasing the contract of Gwinnett catcher David Freitas, who will make his major league debut as a 28-year-old.
David Freitas, C
OFR Rank: N/A
2017 Level: AAA Gwinnett Braves
3 HR, 0 SB
9.3 BB%, 13.0K%
Freitas was a 15th-round pick by the Nationals back in 2010 out of the University of Hawaii, but opened some eyes when he had a 22-game hitting streak for the Vermont Lake Monsters in rookie ball. Freitas continued to impress in A-ball with his approach at the plate, leading the Sally in walks in 2011, and he was named the #25 prospect in the Nationals farm system by Baseball America. In 2012 he was producing similar numbers at high-A when he was traded to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki.
Oakland immediately promoted Freitas to AA, and his numbers started to deflate, as so many do when they hit the AA plateau. Freitas wasn’t as able to exploit younger pitchers lack of command for inflated on-base ability, and his projected power never really came around. After the 2013 season we was moved to Baltimore as a player-to-be-named in a trade deadline deal that saw Jim Johnson go to Oakland.
Freitas bottomed out as an offensive player while in the Baltimore system, hitting a combined .241/.299/.387 while bouncing between AA and AAA in 2015. The Cubs selected Freitas in the Rule V draft but elected not to keep him on the major league roster; Baltimore declined to take him back. While in the Cubs system, Freitas experienced a minor offensive resurgence, hitting .294/.344/.436 mostly with AA Tennessee, socking 27 doubles and 6 home runs.
With their lack of catching depth in the high minors a known issue, Freitas signed in the offseason with the Atlanta Braves as a minor league free agent. Freitas impressed the club in spring training and easily made AAA Gwinnett, where he has remained all season while the likes of Anthony Recker and Blake Lalli have come and gone.
Freitas is a patient hitter with a solid approach, and will often put together long at-bats. He has a long swing and a line-drive approach, both of which limit his power potential. Freitas’s value is in his mitt, where he is a very good pitch framer, and he has only been tagged with one passed ball in 533 defensive innings this season. While not the most mobile catcher, he uses his size to good advantage in blocking. He has a solid arm and hasn’t had a caught-stealing rate below 25% since 2014.
A 28-year-old rookie, Freitas now has the opportunity to make a good impression on the Braves or any other team that may want to engage his services next season. Freitas gets good marks on the intangibles like leadership and game calling, and in particular he has shown a good working relationship with rookie right-hander Lucas Sims. Freitas will look to parlay that into a possible look as the Braves back-up catcher in 2018 with the vetaran Suzuki a pending free agent.
— Gwinnett Braves (@GwinnettBraves) August 25, 2017