Brewers fans have been long awaiting the arrival of 2021 first round pick Sal Frelick. Ever since he entered the organization, he's hit everywhere he's gone, rising to become one of the top prospects not only in the organization, but in all of baseball.
Frelick nearly made the big league roster coming out of spring training, but fell just short. It was expected he would be called up as soon as an opportunity presented itself. That opportunity came on April 18th, when Garrett Mitchell had to leave the game against the Mariners with a shoulder injury.
Unfortunately for Frelick, that very same night with the Nashville Sounds, he injured his thumb sliding into a base, taking him out of game action for several weeks and further delaying his MLB arrival.
Sal Frelick is back healthy now and playing in games for Triple-A Nashville. When will he be called up to make his MLB debut with the Brewers?
""He's got to log some at-bats at a minimum. He's got to get to Triple-A and play for a while, at a minimum. And then Sal's job is to play well enough to say, hey, he's got to be here.""- Craig Counsell
Counsell's comments made it clear that Frelick will need to get a solid base of at-bats under his belt in Triple-A before the Brewers consider him for a promotion. Tuesday's game in Nashville was postponed due to weather, so as of this publication, Frelick has just seven games since his injury under his belt. Three were in the Arizona Complex League and four are with the Nashville Sounds.
In Frelick's first four games back with the Sounds, he has five hits, including a double and a homer.
What Craig Counsell wasn't clear about is what exactly qualifies as "play for a while, at a minimum". What is the minimum he needs to play in order to be eligible for a call up in the eyes of the Brewers? Is that a week? Two weeks?
While we can't be sure what the exact cutoff is, it's likely a lot more than just four games, which is what he currently has under his belt. Even though Frelick has done well in those games, he'll need to be in Triple-A a little bit longer before the Brewers call him up?
Frelick's job is to play well enough to force the Brewers to realize he needs to be in Milwaukee. So far, so good on that front. It also helps that the Brewers have a scuffling offense and they could really use a hitter like Frelick in their lieup right now. Upon the promotions of Mitchell, Brice Turang, and Joey Wiemer, all of them immediately provided a spark and a jolt to the offense upon their arrival. Some subsequent slumps may have followed but this team needs a spark right now. Frelick is also the highest rated prospect of the four.
So when could we actually see Frelick in Milwaukee?
If I had to guess, the earliest we could see Frelick in Milwaukee, assuming he continues to play well in Nashville, would be around the end of June, at least another week away. They're just starting a fresh week long series in Nashville and after that would be the earliest we could see him. If the Brewers want to get a more solid foundation underneath him, we're looking at a debut in early July.
Coming up after the Diamondbacks series, the Brewers have a long, three city road trip ahead of them, ending on July 2nd. Perhaps the Brewers could look to bring up Sal Frelick for his MLB debut in Milwaukee against the Cubs to kick off their final homestand before the All Star Break.
For those wondering, we are already past the Super Two cutoff date, so that is not going to be a contributing factor in the Brewers decision on when to promote Frelick. This is not a service time manipulation situation. This is simply about a player returning from injury getting enough at-bats to be ready for the challenge of the big league level.