David Freitas is at home and it’s September. That’s something that hasn’t happened in the last 13 summers. He has been on the road across the country playing baseball for nine different Major League organizations over that period of time.
However, the 2007 Elk Grove High School graduate, drafted by the Washington Nationals out of the University of Hawaii in 2010, was released by the New York Yankees in late July.
“I’ve been talking to a few teams. I’ve also talked to (teams in) Mexico, too,” he said. “All of them have been just talks. There hasn’t been any final paperwork or anything like that. It’s just been talking and it kind of disappeared. Right now I’m at home and I’m enjoying it.”
The past few weeks he’s been coaching his oldest son Owen’s baseball team.
“It’s been a blast for me,” Freitas admits.
But, if the phone call came offering him the opportunity to play more pro baseball, Freitas says, he’d go as long as the right contract was offered.
“I think I have a few more years in me,” he said. “I don’t think my career is over, but you know, I’ve talked to my wife, Kacee, and my kids and my mom and I said, ‘If my career did end today would I be okay with it?’ I continue to tell myself, ‘Yes.’”
Like most boys growing up with a bat in hand, the dream is to be a big-league baseball player. Freitas did that. In fact, he’s played in Major League games with the Braves, Mariners and Brewers.
“I proved myself at every single level of Major League Baseball and if it ended today, I could look back and I’d be okay with it,” he said.
Freitas played in 858 games in the minor leagues over his 13 seasons, made 3,426 plate appearances, batted .286 with 78 home runs, 457 RBIs, had a .432 slugging percentage and a .803 OPS. In 2019 he led all Triple-A baseball in hitting with a .387 average while playing in the Brewers’ organization in San Antonio.
He made his big-league debut with Atlanta in Philadelphia in 2017. Freitas got his first MLB hit in that game, a double, and his first win behind the plate. That day Freitas remembers clearly. Then there was the game in Los Angeles against the Angels as a member of the Mariners when he got his lone big-league home run.
“I went two-for-two in that day with a walk with my family all there,” he recalled fondly. “My first and only home run in the big leagues. That one sticks in my brain pretty well.”
His stats in the Majors aren’t near as impressive as those in the minors, but he did play in 59 games, made 139 plate appearances, and hit .200 with eight doubles and that one home run in Angels Stadium.
Freitas spent a part of 2013 with the Sacramento River Cats and his family and friends were regulars in the bleachers at Raley Field that summer. After most games he spent lots of time hugging and shaking hands with his hometown fans before heading to the clubhouse.
Early in his professional career Freitas’ mother, Cheryl, worked overtime to help pay for Kacee to travel with her husband during the season. You see, pro baseball players don’t make the big money until they make the Big Leagues.
“I didn’t want to be away from her,” he said. “I thought life is going to take us in different ways in this world and why not be together as much as we possibly can?”
But, after Owen was born, Kacee had to stay home more.
“I wouldn’t see them for six months and I’d come home and have to, sort of, re-get to know them,” Freitas said.
In the past couple years to move into his post-baseball career, Freitas, Kacee and Cheryl have begun to grow a pork business, K&D Farms Pork.
“It’s expanded and beginning to grow,” Freitas said. “Now restaurants are putting our name on the menu. It’s gotten huge. It’s gotten a lot bigger than what we thought. But we like the way it is growing, and we want it to get a lot bigger.”
Winning three Section championships
All local high school baseball followers in 2005, 2006 and 2007 watched a talented group of players at Elk Grove High School win three straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships. Freitas was right in the middle of that group.
“You don’t win three straight championships without some talent,” Freitas recalled. “We had some really good players, and we were really good as one team. We had a very good camaraderie; we knew we were good, and we went out and played as well as we could.”
The coach was Jeff Carlson who over the span of his coaching career at Elk Grove won eight Section championships.
“He treated us like professionals,” Freitas said. “I don’t think he limited our capability. You see some teams that have, like, only one way of doing things. Like, their pitchers all have the same mechanics, or their hitters have similar mechanics. That’s good for certain players. But what Carlson did, he doesn’t have just one way of doing it. Carlson would work with every single individual, however they did it, and help them be the best they could be with what they had. He didn’t have limitations on each player. On game days he laid back and let us go play.”
Freitas played one year at Cosumnes River College before he headed to the Hawaiian Islands for two seasons.
He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 15th round of the June 2010 Amateur Draft.