The Oakland Athletics claimed first baseman Nate Freiman off waivers on Saturday. The hope is that the 26-year-old will be able to have an immediate impact on the team and contribute on a consistent basis throughout the 2013 Major League Baseball season.
Freiman was selected by the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 Draft a few months ago after spending four years in the San Diego Padres Minor League system. The right-handed batter needs to spend the entire season in the big leagues with the Athletics, or he will be placed on waivers once again and given back to the Padres.
Oakland will have only seven games to decide if Freiman is worth keeping on the active roster. The reason the Athletics will strongly consider making him one of 25 men who will have a job in the big leagues with the organization is because he is a power hitter.
“I just know he’s a power-hitting first baseman that hits from the right side,” manager Bob Melvin told Athletics.com. “I looked at the numbers. That’s about as much as I know. We’ll get him in when he gets here. We’ll try to get him plenty of at-bats to where we can make an evaluation on him.”
Freiman batted .298 with 24 home runs, 105 RBI and 31 doubles in 581 plate appearances in Double-A last season. Over his entire career, he has batted .294 with 71 home runs, 368 RBI, 131 doubles and five triples in 1,876 at-bats. There is no question he packs a punch, something Oakland could certainly use in the hard-hitting American League West.
The idea would be to platoon Freiman at first base with left-handed hitter Brandon Moss. The reason for this is to get some power against left-handed pitchers, something Moss imply cannot do. However, this opportunity will only present itself if Freiman proves that he has what it takes to help the 2012 AL West champions clinch another division crown.