Friday, May 26, 2017

Welcome to the Blue, Mike Freeman & Chris Heston

When you see an opportunity, you seize it.

I don't think any team in the league epitomizes this ethic more than the Dodgers front office. When an opening occurs they always seem to dig down deep to fill that hole. After all, you never know if you'll find a diamond in the rough.

Case in point, the Dodgers just claimed two veteran ballplayers from the Seattle Mariners system -- lefty-batting infielder Mike Freeman and right-handed pitcher Chris Heston. Both of whom will be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

If you've got a good memory then you may know these two names. Both players have bounced around for awhile and have played against the Dodgers at one time or another.

Mike Freeman got his first taste of the "Bigs" as a 28 year old in 2016 as a Diamondback, and in fact made his major league debut against the Dodgers on July 17th. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strike outs. He is basically a utility man with some speed and an reputation for being a contact hitter (despite his debut) with gap power. Per a Dodger press release:
Freeman, 29, has appeared in 37 Major League games in two seasons with the Diamondbacks (2016) and the Mariners (2016-17), batting .135 with one home run and two RBI and has a .292 career batting average with a .363 on-base percentage, 132 steals, 19 home runs and 279 BRI in 757 minor league games.

Freeman has appeared in 16 games with Seattle this season, going 2-for-30 with three runs and slugged his first career big league home run on April 12 against the Astros. He has appeared in three games (two starts) at first base, three games (two starts) at second base and two starts at third base with the Mariners, while also making his first career pitching appearance on May 20 against the White Sox. He also spent time with Triple-A Tacoma, appearing in 15 games with the Rainiers, batting .356 (21-for-59) with 12 runs, three doubles, one triple, one homer and nine RBI along with a .424 on-base percentage. The Orlando, Florida native was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 11th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Clemson University.
Chris Heston started his career with the Giants, and was at one time considered a good prospect -- having been the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year in 2012. In fact, he was so good many were not surprised when he threw a Major league no-hitter against the Mets on June 9, 2015. That evening he struck out eleven batters while hitting three New York hitters. Since that time, however, his star has not been bright, and he was unceremoniously traded to the Mariners before the start of this season.

This past Saturday he was recalled by Seattle to throw a spot start against the White Sox and got shelled. He went just three innings, gave up seven hits, six earned runs on four walks and only two strike outs. A 2015 scouting report said this about him:
He relies mostly on his two-seamer, which sits at 89-90 MPH and tops out at 91-92. It has good sink and tail action and he controls it well, but his command is often spotty due to his crossover delivery. When he gets the two-seamer up, it is very hittable. But when his command his on, he pounds the lower half of the zone and gets hitters to drive the ball into the ground, as his 49.3% career minor league GB rate suggests. 
Per a Dodger press release:
Heston, 29, has appeared in 40 games (33 starts) over four big league seasons with the Giants (2014-16) and the Mariners (2017), going 13-13 with a 4.57 ERA (98 ER/193.0 IP) and has struck out 151 batters against 78 walks. In 157 career minor league games (151 starts), Heston has gone 50-55 with six complete-games and one save, while posting a 3.63 ERA and limiting the opposition to a .256 average.

Heston appeared in two games (one start) for the Mariners this season, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) with three strikeouts in 5.0 innings. He has spent majority of the season with Triple-A Tacoma, making six start for the Rainiers and going 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA (12 ER/31.2 IP), while holding batters to a .228 average with 28 strikeouts against 11 walks. The Palm Bay, Florida native was selected by the Giants in the 12th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft from East Carolina University.
In honor of both Freeman and Heston joining the franchise I made the above two fantasy Baseball cards for them.  I used the 1974 Topps Baseball card design with a pic taken by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America for the Mike Freeman's card and the 1985 Donruss Baseball card design and an AP photo for Chris Heston's card.

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