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Article: 2023 Brewers Farm System Positional Preview: Left Field


As with third base, the Brewers are deceptively shallow in left field. Why? Because many of the team’s top outfield prospects, like Jackson Chourio, Jace Avina, Sal Frelick, and Garrett Mitchell, are all listed as center fielders. Likely, the future of left field in Milwaukee is not on this page, and that a center fielder will be moved over.

Image courtesy of © Scott Paulus / Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

There is precedent: at the major-league level, Christian Yelich came to the Brewers via trade after being the primary center fielder for the Miami Marlins in 2017. He spent significant time there in 2015 and 2016. He spent lots of time in left and right field in 2018 and 2019 before taking the left field job in 2020 and staying there ever since.

So, let’s look at the minor-league system and see who will occupy left field.

AAA Nashville
If he is not on the Opening Day roster, Sal Frelick could be one option in left for Nashville, where he spent most of his starts (22 in left vs. 17 in center). Tyler Naquin, Skye Bolt, and Monte Harrison, all non-roster invitees for the Brewers, could also spend time in left for Nashville, particularly when Frelick heads to Milwaukee.

AA Biloxi
It seems pretty likely that last year’s duo of Noah Campbell and Tristen Lutz will be the primary options for Biloxi. Both are very different players. Lutz, a right-handed power bat, once was a top prospect but has been overshadowed by Frelick, Avina, Chourio, Mitchell, and Joey Wiemer. Conversely, Campbell is a switch-hitter with on-base skills who spent time in the infield and outfield in 2021 and 2022. Ernesto Martinez may see some time here if first base and catcher become crowded with Jeferson Quero, Wes Clarke, and Darrien Miller.

A+ Wisconsin
Hedbert Perez will likely move up to take left field after flashing power at Carolina. Once a heralded prospect, his struggles vis-à-vis OBP mean he could face some real competition from 2018 draft picks Arbert Cipion and Micah Bello. Bello, a second-round pick, showed some real offensive potential in 2022, but his big problem since the 2020 pandemic has been spending a lot of time on the DL. Cipion, on the other hand, has struggled offensively.

A Carolina
Luis Castillo is the likely front-runner of several prospects from the Arizona Complex League. He flashed OBP skills and power between the ACL Brewers Gold and Carolina. OBP machine and speed merchant Diego Larez (.393 OBP in 36 games) from the ACL Brewers Gold could also force his way to some playing time. Another OBP machine with a lot of speed, Jamal Zalm from the ACL Brewers Blue, could also see playing time.

Rookie Leagues
Luis Watter looks to be the top contender to man left field for the sole ACL Brewers team in 2023, with Francisco Nina and Devin Gomez looking to rebound from rough years in the DSL. As for the DSL, the Brewers have a crop of new signees who could take lots of playing time.

Even though the top Brewers' outfield prospects mostly come from center field, the Brewers have some very credible prospects in left field. Frelick is clearly the best of the bunch, but Lutz, Perez, and Castillo all remain credible prospects, while Campbell is a potential bench asset, and Bello and Watter are sleepers.

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Yeoman's work completing all these write-ups! Well done!

If we are talking left fielders in Wisconsin, we have to include Carlos Rodriguez in that mix. He was playing the best baseball of his career as the starting left fielder before his ACL tear. If and when he is healthy again, every player listed is highly likely his back-up.

Additionally, Eduarqui Fernandez more than made a name for himself late last year in Zebulon. I anticipate he'll continue to see split duties between CF and LF amongst a very talented crop of OF'ers. I personally don't see a way Perez starts his season anywhere other than Carolina's outfield grass given he's still 19 and struggled to find any consistency in 2022. Then again, if I pay attention to Minor League ST lineups, I might be entirely off base. Regardless, the greater group of Castillo, Avina, Fernandez, Perez, and Mendez is an extremely exciting and entertaining group. It's simply a hard proposition to imagine these talented but very young players heading North with the Lamar Sparks signing and Je'Von Ward's return. The organization also seems to covet Reidy Mercado in a manner similar to Terence Doston. 

It's going to be fun seeing how the rosters take shape to begin 2023!

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