Unlike many other prospects on this list, Sal Frelick may have a direct route to a daily role in American Family Field early in the 2023 season. With no clear starting center field option and his only other prospect competition coming from #6 prospect Garrett Mitchell, Frelick may be the first of the Brewers' top five prospects to see action in a Brewers uniform.
On to Frelick's history and scouting report, the #2 Brewers prospect as ranked by our community.
What To Like
The Brewers' first-round pick in 2021, Frelick was an enigma in the draft world coming out of Boston College. Due to some unfortunate injury luck and COVID, Frelick needed more data to work with. He had shown good bat-to-ball and on-base skills and a lot of athleticism. He had shown an ability to hit the ball with some authority but had struggled to elevate. There were a lot of signs that gave scouts hope that Frelick would eventually become a solid hitter, but without the sample size in college, there was still reason for skepticism. Less than two years post-draft, Frelick is universally viewed as having a plus hit tool, if not an elite one. MLB Pipeline gave him a 70 grade in that regard, which was the highest they gave to any prospect in baseball. Impressively, Frelick’s strikeout rate has continued to decrease as he has risen through the minors, bottoming out at under 9% in Triple-A last season. His swing decisions are elite, he has very good bat-to-ball skills, and he uses his athleticism to turn some groundouts into singles and stretch singles to doubles. Frelick has been a pretty successful base stealer in the minor leagues, but at times it does appear he’s more reliant on his athleticism and speed than his jumps. As with many players around the game, the new pitch clock and pickoff rules should only help his success on the bases.
What to Work On
Offensively, there’s only one downfall to Frelick’s profile: a lack of home run power. He has a very short and fast swing that should allow him to hit plenty of line drives into gaps for doubles and triples, but it will likely make it hard to generate the elevation required to tap into more home run power. 10-15 home runs in a season still feel possible, though, and would at least help keep pitchers on their toes if he can punish their mistakes.
Despite what FanGraphs has said about his defense, Frelick appears to be an average defender in center field presently. He primarily relies on his athleticism, as his routes and jumps are fringe-average at best. Having been recruited to Boston College as a utility guy many thought would eventually play second base, Frelick is still relatively new to the outfield. This makes him more likely to see progression as he gains more experience. Brewers fans will not have to worry about Frelick playing with any fear in the outfield. He plays with his hair on fire and is unafraid to smash into a wall or three.
Frelick has a lot of similarities to Steven Kwan, who posted a WAR over five as a rookie. Kwan had a better batted ball profile in the minors (fewer grounders, more line drives), so Frelick may not have quite as good a debut season as Kwan did, but he does have a profile that should lend him to early MLB success. Frelick is in major league camp and will likely remain there until he heads off to play in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy, where he should get a lot of high-level experience facing MLB-level talent. The Brewers' signing of Tyler Naquin may have shut the door further on his already slim chances of making the team out of spring. Barring a major regression in Triple-A this season, Frelick has all of the ingredients to be a fantastic table setter for the Brewers for a long time. He’s already waiting at the doorstep of the majors, and fans should expect to see him entrenched in the everyday lineup sometime in 2023.
What do you think, Brewer Fanatics? When will we see Frelick in the Milwaukee lineup and should he be a consideration out of Spring Training? Comment and let us know!
Brewers Top 16-20 Prospects
Brewers Top 11-15 Prospects
Brewers Top 6-10 Prospects
Brewers #5 Prospect: Jeferson Quero
Brewers #4 Prospect: Brice Turang
Brewers #3 Prospect: Joey Wiemer
Brewers #2 Prospect: Sal Frelick
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