Nate Freiman of the Oakland Athletics was named the American League Rookie of the Month on Monday, after hitting .351 throughout May with three doubles, a home run and nine RBI.
After being picked up by the A’s off the waiver wire from the Houston Astros in March, it didn’t seem as if Freiman would receive a large role on the team. The struggles of first baseman Brandon Moss against left-handed pitching, though, opened up a platoon situation and Freiman has capitalized.
With Freiman’s Rookie of the Month award, the A’s have now picked up two of the past three such awards in the AL – Yoenis Cespedes was September 2012’s Rookie of the Month himself.
Originally an eighth-round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 2009, Freiman hadn’t appeared above Double-A until the A’s placed him on the roster back in April. He’s made the most of his playing time, which has essentially taken place whenever the A’s have faced a left-handed starter. That happened frequently in May giving Freiman ample opportunity to show his skills and he’s done just that.
He’s also flashed some leather at first base. Though he’s 6’8″, towering over most players seen in a given game, Freiman has made some impressive defensive plays that might not otherwise have been expected from someone as tall as he is. The left-handed-hitting Moss (who plays defense right-handed) has also improved greatly at defense since shifting over to first base within the past two years, creating something of a two-headed first base platoon that is definitely helping the team win ballgames.