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Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect
Tyler Freeman is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 5 prospect in the Cleveland Guardians' minor league system. (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Editor’s note: The Cleveland Guardians called up INF Tyler Freeman to the big leagues on Aug. 3.

CLEVELAND (BVM) — Upon his selection as the Cleveland Guardians’ second pick of the 2017 MLB Draft, Tyler Freeman decided to forego attending Texas Christian University and pursue a shot at making the major leagues.

Since his signing, his glove and bat have been showstoppers that have attracted awe from evaluators, scouts, fans, and teammates. At shortstop, Freeman controls the field like a quarterback: dynamically communicating with his teammates, reading opposing teams, and pulling off ridiculous plays with remarkable consistency. When Freeman is on the field, expect to be treated with a show.

The Guardians’ No. 5-ranked prospect is also a perennial .300 hitter who simply puts the barrel of his bat on everything. With the ability to consistently hit the ball hard to all fields, he has practically convinced witnesses that his bat’s sweet spot and the baseballs thrown in his direction have a special magnetism that produce the two objects to meet with clean and impactful precision seemingly every time. 

Beyond his coveted abilities on the diamond, the person that makes up the stellar prospect deserves just as much, if not more, applause and attention. 

Guardians rookie sensation Steven Kwan spoke on Freeman’s character, praising him as “a consistent light. His love and considerate mentality can make any 0-5 feel that much better,” claiming him as “one of the best teammates [he’s] ever had.”

However, the road that brought him such revered success and character has not come without hardship. Freeman’s remarkable abilities and determination to be the best on the diamond not only stem from his phenomenal talent, but from his heart—one motivated by deep meaning, and a promise.

Freeman is the son of police homicide detective Greg Freeman. Prayers for a safe arrival home for his father were commonplace in the family’s household. Working days and nights, Greg dedicated his time to the job so that Tyler’s mother, Cindy, could spend more time at home with their three children. Although perpetually tasked with providing for his family, he never missed an opportunity to take Tyler to the baseball field to practice.

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“I’ve never met anyone that works as hard as this man,” said Tyler, who’s in the midst of his first Triple-A season with the Columbus Clippers. “Being a police officer, he worked endless nights, 24/7, so we could live a comfortable life. I give all credit to my dad for teaching me that if I wanted to accomplish anything in life, I’d have to work extremely hard just like he has.”

His father’s dedication and his mother’s care knitted the Freeman family together. Life was progressing well for the family, until all at once, tragedy struck. On what began as a routine school day at Etiwanda Intermediate School in 2012 for Tyler, the news that his mother had suffered two strokes was delivered by his father, who removed him from school to visit her in the hospital. 

“We later found out that she had a brain tumor and was going to need surgery to get rid of it,” Tyler recalled.

The surgery to remove the tumor was successful, but at a cost: doctors were skeptical of the chance of Freeman’s mother ever speaking again. After the operation, Cindy’s first attempt to speak resulted not in words, but in tears.

Her failure to speak and doctors’ prognoses did not ultimately dismay Cindy but rather motivated her to find a way to speak again, displaying an act of courage and strength unparalleled.

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“My mom went to rehab day in and day out, practicing at home with us kids learning to talk all over again,” Tyler said.

Miraculously, after two years of rehabilitation, his mother regained her ability to speak. To the amazement of the Freeman family, several doctors, and myriad others, her full recovery was made.

“She proved the doctors wrong,” Tyler said.”She regained her full speech and is as healthy as one can be. You would never have known that she went through all of that… From that point forward I knew anything was possible with faith.” 

Witnessing his mother’s recovery firsthand motivated Tyler to apply the same determination to what he does best: baseball. The belief that wonderful possibilities become real through faith and hard work blossomed in the young man, so he made a pledge to honor his mother’s strength.

“I made a promise to myself that I can reach my lifelong goal of becoming a Major League Baseball player,” Tyler said. “It was going to take lots of work, but nothing is impossible”

Tyler is currently on course to fulfill his promise. It is certain that when he does reach the pinnacle of organized baseball, his father’s dedication and sacrifice, along with the odds-defying miracle of recovery displayed by his mother, will culminate to cement the maxim he quoted so profoundly into objective truth: anything is possible with faith.

Photo: Tyler Freeman is ranked by MLB.com as the No. 5 prospect in the Cleveland Guardians' minor league system. (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)