Braves' Big League Impact draft set for Friday

ATLANTA -- Now that training camp has started for NFL teams, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman will be watching. After making the playoffs in his fantasy football league last season, Freeman knows who he wants under center in 2014.

"I'm a huge Drew Brees fan," Freeman said.

Freeman hopes last year's success translates into his own league that he will run as part of Big League Impact, a nonprofit organization with a mission to support essential needs causes such as providing food, shelter and clean water both domestically and abroad.

Freeman's league, Freddie's Free Hugs, will include John Smoltz, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Johnson, Gavin Floyd, Gerald Laird and potentially fans as participants. Interested fans will make a one-time donation ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 to join the league and take part in a draft with Braves players at Turner Field on Friday. For more information, log onto

Cardinals ace and Georgia native Adam Wainwright founded Big League Impact with his brother, Terry, in 2013. The Atlanta League's proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Salvation Army of Tustin Ranch, Calif., and the Atlanta Braves Foundation as well as Big League Impact.

Freeman is hoping not only for a strong turnout but for a certain former Super Bowl MVP to slip down the draft board a bit.

"I've got the sixth pick, so I'm going to have to go with Drew Brees if he's there," Freeman said. "I'm hearing that Chris Johnson might take him just to make me mad, so I don't know what's going to happen."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.