It’s hard to miss Astros' first baseman Nate Freiman.
“I want to tell you I knew he was big,” Astros manager said this week. “But you’re sitting up in the stands (at the Arizona Fall League) and he’s on the field. When I walked up to him face to face for the first time I was like, ‘Wow, this is a big man.’”
Freiman stands 6-foot-9 and has the potential to cut a similarly imposing figure in the Astros lineup. Freiman hit 26 home runs with 105 RBIs in Double-A in 2012, but it wasn’t enough for the Padres to protect him by placing Freiman on the team’s 40 man roster this offseason.
That made him available for the Astros to grab, which they did in the Rule 5 Draft. He’s now an Astro, but to remain one, Freiman will have to make the Astros' 25-man roster on Opening Day and stay there for the entire season.
“When you talk about a Rule 5 you have to think about the impact he can have on your ball club not just today, but the impact he could have on your ball club moving forward,” Porter said. “Then you weigh that against, ‘is this something you want to keep on your team this year? Is he someone who is going to be able to help the ball club?’”
The Astros felt it was worth the risk to bring in Freiman, who will play first base or DH.
“You look at his splits and what he was able to do in Double-A,” Porter said. “Great numbers against left handed pitching. Anytime you have a guy that can change the game with one swing, being an American League ball club you have the access of the DH, it’s a valuable tool you definitely want to take a long hard look at.”
More than his numbers, what has impressed Porter is that he doesn’t just look like a big slugger taking hacks.
“You know he’s big but it’s a really good swing. It’s not like a big guy,” Porter said. “It’s a short, compact, gap power swing. And that’s how you drive in 100 runs. It’s not just the home runs he’s going to hit, this guy has a pretty good idea how to hit."