Sal Frelick was the Brewers first-round pick just over one year ago. After putting up impressive numbers at the three highest levels of minor-league baseball this year, he finds himself on the precipice of a big-league promotion.
Brewer Fanatic Minor League Hitter of the Year: Sal Frelick, OF
High-A/Double-A/Triple-A Stats (119 G): .331/.403/.480 (.883), 28-2B, 6-3B, 11-HR, 59-RBI
Frelick was the Brewers' first-round draft pick, 21st overall, in the 2021 draft after three strong seasons at Boston College. He posted a .367 batting average as a freshman in 2019. 2020 was cut short. Then during his junior season, he hit .359/.414/.466 (.880) with 17 doubles, two triples, and six home runs.
After the draft, he played four games in Arizona (and went 7-for-15) before moving up to Low-A Carolina. In 16 games there, he hit .437/.529/.667 (1.196). He ended the year with 15 games in Wisconsin.
He began the 2022 season back in the Midwest League. He spent April there and hit .291 (.847) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers in 21 games. He then spent three months in Double-A Biloxi where he .317/.380/.464 (.844) with 12 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. When August began, Frelick was moved up to Nashville along with Garrett Mitchell and Joey Wiemer. Over the final two months, Frelick hit .365/.435/.508 (.943) with 11 doubles, and four homers in 46 games. Overall in 2022, he stole 24 bases in 32 attempts.
In Wisconsin and Biloxi, he played primarily center field, and in Nashville, he spent most of his time in left field. With his speed and strong arm, he is a very good outfielder defensively.
Offensively, he has primarily shown doubles power, but it is clear that over time and with more experience, he should add home run power as well. That’s especially exciting when you consider his eye at the plate and his tremendous bat-to-ball skills. Overall, he walked 52 times this season and struck out just 63 times. I feel the need to type that again. Sal Frelick struck out 63 times in 562 plate appearances. And then just look at this swing.
And for all those reasons, and especially his numbers (which improved as he moved up levels), Sal Frelick is the Brewer Fanatic choice for Minor League Hitter of the Year. (and he's the Brewer Fanatic #2 prospect)
For more Brewer Fanatic content on Sal Frelick, click here.
However, there were a few other really strong candidates. Let’s take a look at other hitters who had strong 2022 seasons with the bat.
Runner-Up: Jackson Chourio, OF
Low-A/High-A/Double-A Stats (99 G): .288/.342/.538 (.879), 30-2B, 5-3B, 20-HR, 75-RBI
According to MLB Pipeline, Jackson Chourio was the #18-ranked international player available in 2021. He signed with the Brewers, as a shortstop, for a $1.9 million signing bonus. He hit .296/.386/447 (.833) with seven doubles and five homers in the DSL. He spent a little time playing in the Venezuelan Winter League this past offseason.
Chourio turned 18 in March and started his season at the Arizona Complex and spent a month there. On May 3, he moved up to Carolina and was one of the youngest players in the Carolina League and immediately made his proverbial presence known. He had two hits, including a home run, in his first game. Over his first seven games, he hit .467/.500/.767 (1.267) with six doubles and a homer. In 62 total games in Carolina, he hit .324/.373/.600 (.973) with 23 doubles, five triples, and 12 home runs. He moved up to High-A Wisconsin where he played in 31 games and hit .252/.317/.488 (.805) with six doubles and eight home runs. He even ended the season, at 18(!), at Double-A Biloxi where he went 2-for-23 in six games.
Chourio quickly moved up prospect rankings everywhere. He wasn’t in Baseball America’s Top 100 before the season. At midseason, he ranked around 30th overall, and after the draft, he is now the #2 prospect in all of baseball. (and the Brewer Fanatic #1 prospect) And for good reason. First, he’s young and dominated at the Low-A level. He moved up to High-A and more than held his own playing against some players 5-7 years older than him. But that’s just part of it. Chourio has incredible tools. The Brewers immediately moved him to center field to take advantage of his great speed and very strong arm. He hits for power to all fields. He went 16-for-20 in stolen base attempts.
How aggressive will the Brewers be with him? How aggressive should they be with him? Could he be the next 19-year-old big leaguer? The answer is, or should be, he’ll show when he’s ready, and yes, that could happen as soon as 2023.
For more Brewer Fanatic content on Jackson Chourio, click here.
Second Runner-Up: Jakson Reetz, C
Double-A/Triple-A Stats (83 G): .266/.363/.589 (.953), 19-2B, 1-3B, 25-HR, 67-RBI
Reetz made his MLB debut for the Washington Nationals on July 10, 2021. He played in two games and went 1-for-2 with a double. Following that 2021 season, Reetz was removed from the 40-man roster and signed as a minor-league free agent with the Brewers. He had been the Nationals’ third-round pick in 2014 out of Firth High School in eastern Nebraska. He moved up the ladder slowly spending two years in the short-season leagues and one-and-a-half seasons in Low-A. He then spent 2018 and 2019 at High-A Potomac before playing in the AFL. After the lost season, he spent 2021 at Double-A before getting some time in Triple-A Rochester.
He began the 2022 season in Biloxi where he crushed the ball in the first half. In 64 games, he hit .281/.392/.636 (1.028) with 16 doubles and 22 homers. He played 19 more games in Nashville. He was added to the Brewers 40-man roster in early August and two weeks later, he was DFAd. He went unclaimed and chose free agency. The Royals signed him to a minor-league deal, and he hit .257 with five homers in 21 games for their Triple-A team in Omaha.
For more Jakson Reetz content at Brewer Fanatic, click here.
Third Runner-Up: Joey Wiemer, OF
Double-A/Triple-A Stats (127 G): .256/.336/.465 (.801), 34-2B, 2-3B, 21-HR, 77-RBI
Joey Wiemer grew up in Ohio and attended the University of Cincinnati for three seasons. His junior season, 2020, was cut short. Knowing he was going to go pro, he spent some time in an independent league before the Brewers used their fourth-round draft pick to select the athletic outfielder.
In 2021, he split the season between Carolina and Wisconsin and combined to his .296/.403/.556 (.958) with 18 doubles and 27 home runs. He also stole 30 bases in 36 attempts. He started the 2022 season with 84 games in Biloxi where he hit .243 (.761) with 19 doubles and 15 home runs. He was promoted to Nashville and finished the season with 43 games there. He hit .287(.888) with 15 doubles and six homers. Overall, he stole 31 bases and got caught just three times. He has been a Top 5 prospect at Brewer Fanatic throughout the season and ended the year as the #4 prospect.
For more Brewer Fanatic content on Joey Wiemer, click here.
Fourth Runner-Up: Cam Devanney, SS/3B
Double-A/Triple-A Stats (128 G): .264/.342/.492 (.834), 32-2B, 1-3B, 23-HR, 68-RBI
Cam Devanney was the Brewers 15th-round pick in 2019 out of Elon University in North Carolina. He played all over the infield in his first two college seasons before taking over the team’s shortstop role as a junior. He spent the remainder of the 2019 season playing in Arizona and then the short-season Pioneer League. After the lost 2020 season, the Brewers had Devanney skip Low-A and High-A and start at Double-A Biloxi. In 87 games, he hit just .175/.270/.261 (.531) with 10 doubles and five home runs.
As you would suspect, the 25-year-old started the 2022 season with the Shuckers again. This time, he was much more prepared. In 115 games, he hit .259/.340/.483 (.823) with 28 doubles, 20 homers, and 57 RBI. Adjustments were made by a very smart hitter. He ended the season with 13 games in Nashville where he hit .306/.357/.571 (.929) with four doubles and three home runs. He played primarily shortstop a Biloxi and again in Nashville, though he played all over the infield. As you can tell by his 56 extra-base hits, Devanney has gap-to-gap power. To put a strong bat with his defensive skills makes for an intriguing prospect in 2023.
For more Cam Devanney content from Brewer Fanatic, click here.
Fifth Runner-Up: Brice Turang, SS
Triple-A Stats (131 G): .286/.360/.412 (.772), 24-2B, 2-3B, 13-HR, 78-RBI
Turang entered the season a top 100 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. He spent the entire season as a 22-year-old in Triple-A. He started over 100 games at shortstop, but he also played at least seven games at second base, third base and center field. His range is average or slightly better than average, and he is pretty sure-handed and has a strong arm. Offensively, he has a good knowledge of the strike zone. Once at a level, he could be a guy to walk almost as much as he strikes out. He has some gap-to-gap doubles power but could hit 15-20 homers in a season. And, he has good speed and instincts. He stole 34 bases this season and was caught just twice. He ended the season as Brewer Fanatics' #3 prospect.
Brice Turang’s father, Brian Turang, played in 78 games for the Seattle Mariners in 1993 and 1994. His mom played softball at Long Beach State. His four older sisters all played college sports. He was the Brewers first-round draft pick in 2018, 21st overall, out of Santiago High School in Corona, California. He had participated for Team USA in several international competitions. Despite his youth, and with the missed 2020 season, the Brewers pushed him to Double-A to start the 2021 season. He finished the year with 44 games in Nashville, and that’s where he spent the entire 2022 season.
For more Brewer Fanatic content on Brice Turang, click here.
Tristan Peters, OF
High-A Stats (90 G): .306/.386/.485 (.871), 22 2B, 8 3B, 7 HR, 51 RBI
The outfielder from Canada was the Brewers seventh-round pick out of Southern Illinois in 2021. He was pushed to High-A Wisconsin and hit for average, got on base, and showed power speed. And then they inexplicably traded him to the Giants for Trevor Rosenthal who has not, and presumably will not, pitch for the Brewers. (More Tristan Peters content)
Jon Singleton, 1B
Triple-A Stats (134 G): .219/.375/.434 (.809), 22-2B, 2-3B, 24-HR, 87 RBI
Singleton signed a $10 million, long-term deal with the Astros, and soon after he made his MLB debut. And then he hit .171 over 114 games between 2014 and 2015. He stayed in the minor leagues with Houston through 2017. And that was the last time he played in affiliated ball. Still just 31, and maybe not wanting to be left in the weeds, Singleton signed with the Brewers in December. To be blunt, he struggled a bit early. In fact, he hit under .200 in April, May and June. Then in July, he really lit up the joint, hitting .281/.400/.671 (1.071) with nine of his 24 homers. He hit just .181 in August before ending the season strong, hitting .296 (.878) in September. Will he return to the Brewers again in 2022, or will he find a place where the grass is greener, and he’d have a better shot at a return to the big leagues? (More Jon Singleton content)
Jeferson Quero, C/OF
Low-A/High-A Stats (95 G): .286/.342/.439 (.780), 22-2B, 2-3B, 10-HR, 57-RBI
Signed for $200,000 in July 2019, he did not make his pro debut until 2021 in the Arizona Complex League. He spent most of the 2022 season in Carolina (75 games). He moved up to Wisconsin for 20 games and hit .313 with four of his 10 homers and an .860 OPS). Quero is currently the #9 ranked prospect at Brewer Fanatic. (More Jeferson Quero content)
Abraham Almonte, OF
Triple-A Stats (48 G): .294/.380/.533 (.913), 11-2B, 0-3B, 11-HR, 42-RBI
Almonte, 33, has spent at least some time in the big leagues every season since 2013. He’s played for the Mariners, Padres, Cleveland, the Royals, Diamondbacks, the Padres again, and Atlanta. He signed with the Brewers before the season, a minor-league contract, and played well in 48 games for Nashville. He was traded to Boston in July, spent time in Worcester, and has hit .333 in 12 games for the Red Sox.
Pablo Reyes, UT
Triple-A Stats (99 G): .273/.348/.439 (.787), 27-2B, 2-3B, 11-HR, 59-RBI
Another veteran, Reyes spent most of the season with Nashville, but he did get into five games for the Brewers and had four hits over 15 at-bats. The 29-year-old had played in 53 games for the Brewers in 2021. He played in 89 games for the Pirates between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. (More Pablo Reyes content)
Tyler Black, SS/CF
High-A Stats (64 G): .281/.406/.424 (.831), 13-2B, 4-3B, 4-HR, 35 RBI
The Ontario native was the 33rd overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Wright State. He began his first full season in Wisconsin. In 64 games, he hit for average, showed a great ability to get on base, and showed some power. He played shortstop and some center field. His season ended in July when he had a broken scapula. He remains the Brewer Fanatic #7 prospect. On Monday, he will begin his season in the AFL. (More Tyler Black content)
What impressed you the most about the names mentioned above? Should a different player have made the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
The 2022 Minor League Award Winners
Short Season Hitter of the Year: Jace Avina
Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Kevin Briceno
Relief Pitcher of the Year: Cam Robinson
Starting Pitcher of the Year: Carlos Rodriguez
Hitter of the Year: Sal Frelick
For current Brewer Fanatic Top 20 Prospect Scouting Reports, articles, videos and more, click here.
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