They say, ‘Chicks dig the long ball.’
If so, that must make Derrick Freeman a ladies man.
Only 12 games into the season, the Trojans outfielder has already hit six home runs.
Along with the six home runs, Freeman leads the league in batting average at .435 and tied for fifth in RBIs with 12. Teammate Wesley Brooks is second with three home runs.
It is safe to say the power numbers this season are a surprise to everyone, including Freeman.
“I didn’t know I could hit for power. I honestly didn’t. That's been a pleasant surprise.” Freeman said. “I’ve never really hit home runs like this before. This is the first time.”
In his senior season of high school at University City, Freeman batted .467 with four doubles, a triple, no home runs and 15 RBIs. He didn’t register an at-bat his first season with the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) because he redshirted. A decision that he believes was the cause of his power.
“Redshirting this year, I was able to just lift a whole lot, so I’ve gained a lot of muscle since high school,” Freeman said. “It has been a learning experience. I got to watch some pretty good guys play.”
Freeman also leaned on the experience of two seniors Tritons, Justin Busekrus, a former Metro Collegiate player himself and Jon Michael Weaver. Freeman say the two took him under their wing and taught him a lot of what he knows now about hitting, specifically extension through the ball.
So far this season, Freeman has switched off between batting leadoff and batting second for the Trojans. He says he has no preference, but when it comes to his approach he gets a little more selective.
“If I get a pitch I think I can hit I’ll probably swing at it no matter if I’m batting leadoff or batting second,” Freeman said. “Batting leadoff, I would say I’m a little more patient than if I’m batting second.”
Seeing more pitches has proven to be beneficial for Freeman as he cited the better pitching in this league compared to his last year in high school. He said that the off-speed pitches from pitchers are much better than the ones he saw when he last played.
From strength training to senior leadership to adjusting to better pitching, Freeman still works on his craft by going to the cages at least four times a week. He tries to fit it into his busy schedule with games every night and his internship at Boeing during the day, trying to continue to improve his hitting skills is obviously a priority that he is reaping the benefits of now