Prospect Freeman gets called to The Show

Prospect Freeman gets called to The Show

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman was named the International League's Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. When the Braves continue their four-game series against the Mets on Wednesday, Freeman will make his much-anticipated arrival to the Major League level.

The Braves confirmed Tuesday that Freeman will be among the Minor Leaguers promoted when rosters expand Wednesday. The highly regarded first baseman hit .319 with 18 homers and an .898 OPS in 124 games with Triple-A Gwinnett this year.

Freeman, who will turn 21 on Sept. 12, has long been targeted to serve as Atlanta's starting first baseman next year. While hitting .351 with 13 homers since the end of May, he has provided the Braves every indication that he's ready to be challenged at the next level.

"He's been screaming pretty loud for about a month," general manager Frank Wren said. "He's done everything and more that we could expect from a 20-year-old at Triple-A. He's played extremely well and just gotten better and better. He's carried that team."

Freeman, left-handed reliever Mike Dunn, right-handed reliever Scott Proctor, catcher J.C. Boscan and right-hander Kenshin Kawakami will all be added to the Major League roster Wednesday.

Kawakami was recalled to Atlanta on Monday and then optioned to Rookie Level Danville on Tuesday with a procedural move that allowed the Braves to recall Nate McLouth and immediately place him on the 25-man roster for Tuesday night's game.

Kawakami, Dunn and Proctor will add depth to the bullpen mix. Boscan will serve as the third catcher that manager Bobby Cox likes to carry during the regular season's final month.

When Gwinnett's season concludes Sunday, right-handed relievers Craig Kimbrel and Cristhian Martinez are also expected to be added to the Major League roster.

Proctor struggled while attempting to return from Tommy John elbow surgery, which he underwent in May 2009. But the veteran reliever has allowed just one run and five hits in his past nine innings with Gwinnett.

"He's throwing the ball really well," Wren said. "We always hope guys can come back [from Tommy John] in 12 months. It just took him longer to get his command."

Wren was among the many members of the organization who were thrilled to know that Boscan will finally have a chance to taste the Majors after spending the past 14 years in the Minors. The 31-year-old Venezuelan catcher hit .250 with five homers in 66 games with Gwinnett this year.

"J.C. has earned it," Wren said. "He's a tremendous defensive catcher. It's a credit to him. He's worked hard to get here."

When the Braves signed Boscan in 1997, Freeman was an 8-year-old kid just developing the pretty left-handed swing that has provided him so much success since being taken in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Freeman's rise to the Major League level will allow him and his close friend Jason Heyward to experience their first pennant race together. The two have been roommates since they began their professional careers together three years ago.

With Derrek Lee at first base, Freeman may not see his name in the starting lineup too often over the course of the next few weeks. But Cox looks forward to the fact that the talented prospect will at least enhance the depth of his bench down the stretch.

Freeman will be eligible for a postseason roster spot if he gives the Braves reason to believe he could help them in October. He could fill one of the spots created by Chipper Jones and Kris Medlen, who will both be on the disabled list for the remainder of the season.

"He's had a tremendous year," Cox said. "He can help us."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.