The Los Angeles Angels have a new third baseman, as David Freese is headed to Southern California and will be reunited with his former teammate, Albert Pujols. This move should provide them with some much needed production from third base, assuming Freese can get back to his 2012 production. The Angels send Peter Bourjos to the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the trade almost solidifying another season of leadoff duties for Mike Trout, however that is a rant for another day.
Focusing on Freese I think that his fantasy value will actually come down to park factors after this trade.
Unfortunately for Freese’s fantasy baseball owners, Freese is a big name because of his actual baseball success — notably the 2011 postseason, specifically World Series — and not really anything he’s done in fantasy baseball. At best, Freese is a 6 hitter, especially moving to the Angels who have a pretty crowed 3-4-5 heart of the order without even using their best hitter in the 3 hole.
Fortunately for Freese the park factors rate Angel Stadium of Anaheim better than Busch Stadium in both Runs and HRs.
|Anaheim||0.968 (19)||0.902 (20)|
|St. Louis||0.892 (25)||0.827 (24)|
Freese is coming off a terrible season in which he didn’t even get to double-digit home runs and batted only .262. In his best season (2012) Freese hit 20 bombs and batted .293. Anaheim isn’t a great hitter’s park by any means, but again, it was better than St. Louis, at least in 2013. Hopefully the upgrade in parks will help Freese get back on track.
To me, Freese is still more or less a fantasy afterthought when it comes to draft preparation. He will be 31 at the start of next season, he has zero chance of cracking the heart of the order on his new team, and he isn’t exactly a guy with a long track record of Major League success.
That being said, I will still watch Freese closely because 20 home run potential is not something to ignore completely. If Freese settles in batting 6th behind Mark Trumbo and can in fact get to 20+ bombs, then his production would be pretty valuable. He might also be worth drafting in 12-team, traditional or larger roster leagues towards the end of drafts. You just have to realize that what you see is what you get with Freese, and there is not much upside after 20 hom runs.