2022 has been Sal Frelick’s first full professional season in baseball. The 2021 first round draft pick (15th overall) has quickly progressed from the ranks of the Brewers High-A squad all the way to Triple-A in less than one season.
Along the way, Frelick has ridden a hot bat and collected a ton of base hits. Currently, he has played 121 games this year and has 164 hits. His season batting average is .329, OPS .877, and he has struck out just 52 times in 353 at-bats.
Since being promoted to Triple-A, Frelick has played in 17 games and has a multi-hit game in ten of them. Impressively, he also has nine walks during that span. It’s clear that the higher level pitching has not changed Frelick’s ability to be an impact hitter in the lineup.
The big question now becomes if the Brewers should promote the hot hitting outfield prospect in Sal Frelick to the major leagues.
What is the Brewers current situation in centerfield?
Currently, Tyrone Taylor and Jonathan Davis are the Brewers centerfielders. Both have performed very well defensively, but offense is where the production has been lacking. 2022 has been Taylor’s first legit opportunity at everyday playing time in the majors. He has been streaky offensively and sits at just an 88 wRC+ on the season.
At the trade deadline, David Stearns failed to address upgrading in centerfield. They did pick up Esteury Ruiz in the Josh Hader package. Ruiz made his major league debut earlier this season, so it is possible that we see the speedster with the Brewers this season yet.
What moves would have to be made in order to get Sal Frelick on the active roster and what impact might it have in years to come?
At this point, there is no reason to believe that from a baseball perspective Sal Frelick couldn’t help out this Brewers team. If he were to be promoted, a logical swap would be for him to take Jonathan Davis’ roster spot. Davis is out of options so he would need to be designated for assignment for the Crew to send him back down.
Among other options to make room on the 40-man roster, the Brewers could look to designate J.C. Mejia for assignment, who recently was reinstated from the PED suspension list and was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Trevor Kelley or Pablo Reyes could also be DFA candidates.
On the business side, bringing up Frelick now could have an impact in seasons to come. If he starts accruing service time this season and sticks at the major league level in 2023, he could be Super-Two eligible and gain an extra year of arbitration. This could cost the Brewers more money down the road.
Frelick also could lose his rookie status yet this year if he is promoted. Rookie eligibility is lost if a player is on the active roster for 45 days or they see 130 at bats. If Frelick is still an eligible prospect and makes the Opening Day roster next season and gets award consideration, such as Rookie of the Year, the Brewers would gain an extra draft pick. This is from the new CBA and it is something for the Brewers to keep in consideration.
In the end, it is clear that the Brewers should try and do something regarding the current centerfield position. Calling up Ruiz instead of Frelick seems more likely as he’s already on the 40 man, but with active rosters expanding by two players in September, who knows what will happen.