Dakota Freese sounds like a guy who already has made up his mind. If the Cedar Rapids Washington pitcher gets offered a professional baseball contract, he’ll sign it.
“It’s been my dream to go pro and to play major league ball,” Freese said. “So any chance I get, I’m going to take it.”
Freese is virtually a lock to be selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in a week and a half. Perfect Game USA of Cedar Rapids projects the wiry 6-foot-4 right-hander with a delivery similar to that of San Francisco Giants star Tim Lincecum (his hero, by the way) to go between the 10th and 15th rounds.
He said scouts from 22 of the 30 MLB clubs have contacted him, and he talks to a scout from the Philadelphia Phillies virtually every day. Freese has signed to play junior college ball at LSU-Eunice, but he’ll likely never step foot on the Louisiana campus.
“I’m very excited,” Freese said. “I’m kind of getting nervous, not knowing where I’m going to go in the draft or anything like that.”
Freese has grown four and a half inches since he burst onto the prep scene as a sophomore. His velocity has increased with his height, consistently in the 90 to 92 mile-per-hour range this spring at various showcase events.
He is pitching in Florida this weekend at a showcase tournament.
“Just working hard,” he said. ”I do physical therapy just to build my body size up. That’s really helped me. Last year, I was throwing maybe 91, but that was just occasionally. Now it’s 90, 92 pretty regularly. I’m growing up, been told I’m projected to throw about 96 eventually. I’m growing up, as long as I keep growing out with it.”
And growing up mentally. Freese is not eligible to pitch for Washington until next week because of a suspension for violating school policy.
It’ll be interesting to see how much that affects him in the draft.
“I know that’ll hurt me money-wise,” Freese said. “But that helped me kind of realize that I’ve got to keep my head in to be able to stay in the game.”
Other possible draftees including Cedar Rapids Kennedy outfielder Austin Christensen, Solon outfielder Derrick Loveless and Solon infielder Nick Day. Christensen has signed to play college baseball at Nebraska, Loveless and Day at Iowa.
Perfect Game has Mount Pleasant pitcher Braden Shull (a Kansas State signee) as its top Iowa prep. Christensen may not end up getting drafted because of his strong desire to go to college.
“I don’t know, to be honest,” Christensen said, when asked if he anticipated being drafted. “I want to, obviously, but I’m not going to worry about it either way. I mean, I’m excited to go to college and play at Nebraska. I’m just going to stay open-minded about it, and whatever happens, happens.”