Kyle Freeland Prepares For First MLB Start
It’s an exciting time for former Grand Junction Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland. On Friday, he’s making his big league debut pitching for the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in his hometown. In a conference call, Wednesday afternoon he told reporters it all boils down to one word: exciting.
“It’s going to be really exciting and emotions are definitely going to be running high,” Freeland said. “Not many people get the chance to get called up to play for their hometown team. It’s an honor and has been an exciting couple of days.”
Freeland was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies but chose to go to the University of Evansville instead, a choice he said helped mold him into the pitcher he is today.
“UE was a huge stepping stone for me. I think I made the right decision to go to college,” Freeland said. “The coaches there helped develop me, mature me, and mold me into the person I am now. It was a good learning experience for me. It led to getting to play in the Alaskan League and Cape League and getting my name out there which helped me a ton.”
The Colorado Rockies drafted Freeland in 2014 and he spent parts of both the 2014 and 2015 season with Grand Junction before working his way up. Last season, he spent time in Hartford and Albuquerque building momentum as he continued to refine his pitches and add a changeup.
“Going back to last season, I did have a bit of a rocky half of a season in Double-A. I think that was due to figuring things out,” Freeland said. “Once I got to Triple-A, things clicked. A big part of that was finding my changeup and getting a fourth pitch to use as a good weapon. I kept my focus on what I was doing and took that into spring training.”
Freeland had a strong spring making the Rockies’ roster and getting the ball for the home opener, a place he knows well.
“I remember going to Rockies games throughout the summer with my family. I remember parking and walking to the field with my parents and my brother. I remember the sights, the smells, and the sounds like it was yesterday.”
Freeland said some of his favorite players include Todd Helton, Larry Walker, and the Blake Street bombers and now, his name will be among them.
“My teammates gave me the advice that it’s just another game. It doesn’t matter if it’s rookie ball or your big league debut, you have to go out there with that mindset and execute pitches. But it’s going to be a lot of fun.”