It has been a rough first half of the season for Los Angeles Angels third baseman David Freese to say the least. Freese was acquired by the Halos in a offseason trade last November from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Peter Bourjos and has been anything but what his new team had hoped he would be offensively. In 61 games played this season, the 31-year-old is batting .240 with three home runs, 22 RBIs and 66 strikeouts. His struggles so far in 2014 can be highlighted by his first month of the regular season where he hit just .203 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
It has not been the type of production the Angels had expected from the former World Series MVP, however, he has seemed to find his groove at the plate over the last eight games as he is batting .357 (10-for-28) with one home run, five RBIs and four runs scored over that span. Those may not be eye-popping numbers, but it shows that he may finally be getting comfortable with his new team.
His offensive woes this season have not been due to a lack of trying but rather that he may have been pressing to produce something that happened to each Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in their first seasons with the Angels. It is something that most players go through when playing for a new team. Now that he has collected hits in seven out of the last eight games, it could the confidence builder that he needs to start producing like he did in his breakout 2012 season (.293, 2o home runs and 79 RBIs).
If he is able to keep finding some essence of his 2012 form, he can be of great help for the Angels’ lineup that is already a top-10 offense in the league. That said, there is no pressure for Freese to be an All-Star level of production, but he needs to be a reliable bat in the lineup that can drive in runs when needed, especially when Mike Trout, Pujols or Hamilton are having off nights. A prime example of this is from Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, as both Trout and Pujols went o-for-4 and Freese stepped up offensively in their place by hitting a solo home run.
If Freese is able to be a reliable bat in the lineup, he could play a major part of the Halos’ offense in the second half of the season. In a role that is most suitable to being an x-factor, he could be the missing piece to the team’s lineup. This, along with the fact he is hitting the ball well over the last handful of games, may be the momentum he needs to start producing like the player he and the Angels had hoped for this season.