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Rangers' Cody Freeman Paves New Path To Texas



Texas drafted Cody Freeman in the fourth round in 2019, which Rangers fans recognize as the same draft in which the club drafted Josh Jung eighth overall.

At that point, Freeman was an 18-year-old shortstop from Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. He had ties to then-Rangers manager Chris Woodward, and his older brother Tyler was a top prospect in the Guardians organization.

Now, Freeman is transitioning to catcher, a position where the Rangers aren’t particularly deep in their farm system. He has done a nice job so far and got extra work in the Arizona Fall League.

With time, the Rangers believe Freeman can catch in the major leagues, and he can still handle himself in the infield.

Freeman's path to catching is surprising, considering he hated the position when growing up.

“It’s going really smooth,” Freeman said. “Just learning game in, game out from all of these pitchers. From 2021 instructs, when they told me to put the gear, on to now has been big progress and learning even more.”

The 21-year-old has had help. The Rangers hired catching coordinator Garrett Kennedy from the Twins last offseason to be the minor league catching coordinator, and Bobby Wilson oversaw the catching program, even though he was on the big league staff.

“My biggest challenge is probably my receiving,” Freeman said. “The blocking, the throwing, calling the game, pitcher-catcher relationship—all that stuff is a factor, too. But physically the thing I probably work on the most is my receiving.”

That’s where Kennedy and Wilson have helped. Wilson, in particular, has had his hands on the two American League catchers who finished 1-2 in framing metrics this year: Jose Trevino and Jonah Heim.

Trevino, now with the Yankees, won the American League Gold Glove this year.

Freeman hit 13 home runs this season for Low-A Hickory, while batting .234/.312/.366 in 102 games. He also made starts at each infield position but primarily third base.

“My first year, I didn’t hit one home run,” Freeman said. “It’s slowly coming. I just keep feeling more comfortable at the plate."

RANGERS ROUNDUP

— Shortstop Luisangel Acuña was assigned to the Arizona Fall League because the Rangers wanted him to get enough at-bats to make up for him missing the first month of the season with a hamstring injury. Acuña finished the season at Double-A Frisco and will likely return there to start 2023.

— New Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said that one of the things that excited him most about Texas was the strength of the farm system. He sees similarities between it and the one Giants used to help fuel World Series title runs in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
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