Cole Freeman was a standout during his college career with the LSU Tigers and was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He may not be a top prospect for the Nats just yet, but there is no doubt that his future is bright with the organization.
Being drafted by the Nationals was not the first time that Freeman had the chance to stick with an MLB team. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2016, but decided to return to LSU for one more season. His return to LSU was largely due to the fact that they gave him the special opportunity to wear the No. 8 jersey, which is worn by a player that is an example of integrity and spirit.
Kris Kline, the Nationals’ assistant general manager and vice president of scouting, had some very good things to say about Freeman.
“He’s a really good player, good baseball player. He can really run. Good defender. Really good hitter. Not a big power guy, but a guy you’d like to have at the top of your order.”
Needless to say, the organization is high on Freeman and the fans need to come around to watching his development. If you haven’t had the chance to find out much about him, you have come to the right place.
Evan Massey of Lifestyle Sports 101 had the chance to sit down for an exclusive interview with Freeman. Many different topics were discussed and this interview is must-read material for any Nationals’ or baseball fan in general.
First up, we talked about what being a part of the Nationals’ organization has been like for Freeman thus far.
“Much different than college. It’s much more on your own and much more of a job. That was really the first thing I noticed right off the bat. It’s been as fun as it can be for not being able to play at all. It sucked that I was sent straight to rehab and not able to start my pro career off the way I wanted it but that was out of all of our control. But I’m healthy now and excited as ever to get back to work during spring training and get after it.”
Next up, Freeman talked about what he brings to the diamond every day.
“A lot of energy. Trying to set the tone. Laying out for balls, battling at the plate, flying around the field, and putting as much pressure on the defense as I can. I just don’t want to fill a spot, I want to be a leader out there and a person that my teammates look at to make something happen.”
Freeman also opened up about what he is like when he isn’t playing the game he loves.
“Just a dude that likes to hang out with his boys. I’m a lucky kid because I get to live a pretty cool life. I wake up and go work out, hit, and take grounders. Then the rest of my day I just kind of get to figure out what to do. I realize that I’m in a lucky situation and I try not to waste that. I like to help people out just like I was helped out by many people growing up. I guess that just stuck with me.”
We went on to talk about who Cole’s favorite team was growing up, as well as his favorite player. We also discussed what being a professional player feels like for him.
“My favorite pro team was the Cubs. And player wise I loved Sammy Sosa. But as I got into junior high and high school I really started watching Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve because they were more like me. I liked watching Bregman in college as well and still try to learn from him. It feels almost not even real. I really don’t think it has hit me. I do think back on all the work I have put in over the years and think it’s pretty satisfying where I am now. But it isn’t even close to where I want to be and I still have a lot of work to do.”
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Freeman already has some goals set for himself.
“To make an adjustment to pro ball as fast as I can. Just make strides as a player and get better every day I’m out there. I don’t have any personal goal like average or anything like that because I don’t know what to expect. The only thing is that I just want to be the best player I can be and move up the ranks as fast as possible.”
At this point in his career, Cole seems to have locked in on what his biggest strengths and weaknesses are.
“My defense, speed, and the willingness to learn from someone to try and get better I think are my biggest strengths. One of my weaknesses I would think would be my power at the plate. I know I have it in me I just have to figure out how to utilize it more because of the swing I had in college and that’s what I have been really working on over this offseason.”
Freeman talked about two players that he wants to be like as he continues to grow as a player himself.
“I can’t compare my game to these two guys because they are on the level that I am trying to reach. But yeah, Altuve and Bregman for sure would be two guys I try and model my game after. I want to be as versatile as Bregman is in the infield and bring that spark to the team that he does. I respect what he has done already on and off the field. And Altuve, I mean, it speaks for itself. He’s a lead by example guy and that’s what I want to be for my team.”
If you’re a young baseball player with dreams of playing professionally, Freeman has some advice for you.
“You said it in the question. It’s their dream of playing baseball. It’s really how bad they want to achieve their dream. There are going to be so many ups and downs. And a lot of people saying you can’t do it. You have to just stay even keel and just keep working because it’s your dream and if you want something bad enough you can get it done. The more coachable you are as a player the better off you will be growing up and becoming a better baseball player. I think that’s the toughest thing for young kids to learn is to listen to people that have been there done that because they know much more than you do as a young player.”
Finally, Cole sent out some messages to those that have helped him along his path to being a professional baseball player.
“A shoutout to Chris Westcott. This was a guy that since I met him when I was 10 has changed my life. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today in baseball without him. He has always been there for me on and off the field. And he will stop what he’s doing in a heartbeat to work with me no matter when I need him. He’s a second father to me no doubt. And To all the LSU fans. Thank y’all for the best two years of my life. It’s going to be tough not taking the field at The Box on opening night and not wearing that Tiger jersey anymore but I’m so thankful for all the memories and friends I have made there. I will forever be in their debt and will be a Tiger for life! But I’m excited to be a Nat and I plan on making many many good memories in the near future with them!
I wouldn’t be the man I am today without my parents Sean and Kellie. They have done and continued to do some much for me and my sister Kacey. If they didn’t dedicate their lives to me and my sister we would both not be where we are today!”
We hope that you have enjoyed this interview and will follow Cole in 2018 as he takes the next step in his career. Make sure to follow him on Twitter at @ColeDrank. Also, please give Evan Massey and Lifestyle Sports 101 a follow on Twitter at @massey_evan and @LSports101 respectively!