1 reason why Sal Frelick is about to play more at third base and 1 reason he isn't

The youngster was expected to get some playing time at the hot corner in 2024 but so far hasn't gotten much
May 15, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Sal Frelick (10) reacts
May 15, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Sal Frelick (10) reacts / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big stories out of Milwaukee Brewers spring training was about how one of the team's young outfielders, Sal Frelick, was likely going to see some time at third base. So far in 2024, that hasn't really been the case.

Frelick has played in 41 games this season and most of those have seen him play across the three different positions of the outfield. Only two of them, however, have seen him play at the hot corner.

The reason behind this has been team need. With fellow outfielder Garrett Mitchell hitting the injured list before the season even began and Christian Yelich spending some time there as well, the Crew haven't been able to afford to pull Frelick to the infield.

The Brewers have instead opted to go with a different tandem at third. Joey Ortiz has spent plenty of time there, as expected. But instead of being paired with Frelick, it's been rookie Oliver Dunn who has been mostly been the other part of that platoon.

That could all be about to change asb recent developments with the roster might actually allow Frelick to finally see some playing time at third. But that's only if one big obstacle doesn't get in his way.

The demotion of Brewers infielder Oliver Dunn could result in playing time for Sal Frelick at third.

When team home run leader Rhys Hoskins hit the injured list this week with a hamstring injury that will sideline him for 2-4 weeks, the Brewers found themselves needing another first baseman. Owen Miller ended up being the one to get the call from Triple-A Nashville and few days later, Dunn was optioned in a separate move.

A stint back in the minors felt like something that was coming for Dunn. After making the Opening Day roster and starting the season hot, the 26-year-old had since come back to earth and was batting .226 with a .611 OPS and 38.9% strikeout rate at the time of his demotion.

Miller, a utility infielder, can technically play third as well, but he, like Ortiz, is a right-hander which doesn't make for much of a platoon. Frelick, on the other hand, is a lefty and would pair up with Ortiz much better.

Add to this the fact that another rookie in outfielder Chris Roller was called up in Dunn's place and the Brewers have the outfield depth to support Frelick getting some time on the infield. There is one person who could derail this plan, though, and keep Frelick in the outfield.

Joey Ortiz's strong play at third for the Brewers as of late may continue to limit Frelick to the outfield.

When the Brewers finally made the decision to trade starting rotation ace Corbin Burnes in a package that netted two prospects in pitcher DL Hall and infielder Joey Ortiz, the immediate focus was on whether Hall could replicate at least some of Burnes' success on the mound.

While fans are still waiting to see if that prophecy will become anywhere close to fulfilled with Hall currently on the IL, it's been Ortiz that has been impressing with his play on the field.

Ortiz came to the Brewers with the reputation of a solid hitter with little power and potentially elite defense. He has been all of that and then some in 2024 as he has hit .277 with a .384 on base percentage and .895 OPS, including six doubles, a pair of triples, and the first four homers of his career. His defense has been just as good as advertised as well.

In the Craig Counsell days, that might not have mattered much as the old Brewers manager often leaned heavily into platoons despite how strong certain players might be playing at the plate. Murphy is no stranger to platoons himself, but seems to be quicker to keep rolling with a hot hand, with outfielder Blake Perkins being a recent example.

Of course, every player needs a break which is true for both Ortiz and second baseman Brice Turang, who also has started the season extremly hot but was relieved at second by Ortiz on Wednesday. In those cases, that's where you could see Frelick potentially see some time at third.

Whether or not Frelick gets to spend future time on the infield is all in the hands of the new Brewers manager, Murphy. As far as Frelick himself is concerned, he probably doesn't care where on the field he plays as long as it leads to more wins for the Crew.