Evansville left-hander Kyle Freeland made waves last summer when he led the Cape Cod League with a 48-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 innings, and he has picked up right where he left off this season. In his first six starts this spring, Freeland posted a nearly identical 45-to-3 ratio in 40 innings for the Purple Aces.
Ranked No. 24 on MLB.com's Top 50 Draft prospects, Freeland continued his excellent pitching on Friday afternoon, tossing a 15-strikeout complete game at Charlotte. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while throwing just 97 pitches.
Freeland attacks hitters with a heavy low-90s fastball, as well as a slider and changeup. His fastball and slider are both above-average offerings, but the key to his success is his plus command and deceptive delivery.
"There's some deception there," one area scout said. "He has a good slider and gets a lot of swings and misses on balls off the plate with it."
Despite his glittering statistics, scouts say Freeland has been somewhat inconsistent this season. Part of that is likely attributable to the poor weather he encounters in Evansville, Ind., and he should be able improve as the conditions improve this spring.
"I still think he's a first-round talent," the scout said. "His last couple starts, he's done very well."