Brewers' Sal Frelick Brings Hard-Nosed Style To Cusp Of MLB
The Brewers called up 2020 first-round outfielder Garrett Mitchell on Aug. 27.
Sal Frelick, the club's 2021 first-rounder, shouldn’t be too far behind.
A year after being drafted 15th overall out of Boston College, the center fielder rocketed through the system. Frelick started at High-A Wisconsin and stopped at Double-A Biloxi before finishing at Triple-A Nashville.
In 119 total games he hit .331/.403/.480 with 11 home runs, 24 stolen bases, 52 walks and 63 strikeouts.
As part of a talented Sounds outfield that also included prospects Mitchell, Esteury Ruiz and Joey Wiemer, Frelick compiled a .943 OPS in 46 games and reached base in his final 41 with Nashville, a streak that ranked as the longest in the International League.
“Not at all,” said Wisconsin manager Joe Ayrault when asked if he was surprised by Frelick’s rapid ascent. Ayrault also managed Frelick last season at Low-A Carolina.
“He came in last year when I was at Carolina and hit (.437),” Ayrault said. “He’s consistently good at everything he does. He's got the hitting tool, flashes the power—which I think is going to come—can run, play defense, has a good arm.”
Aside from the obvious physical tools, Frelick also brings that “gamer” mentality with him to the field each day.
Temperatures in Appleton, Wis., can drop into the 30s and 40s on April evenings, which can prove quite uncomfortable for players hailing from warmer climes.
Ayrault said the 22-year-old Frelick typically wore short sleeves regardless of the conditions, a nod to the Boston native’s hockey background and his “gamer” mentality.
“Unbelievable guy in the clubhouse. He’s a competitor and plays to win,” Ayrault said. “Hard-nosed baseball player. He’s a good one.”
— After a breakout 2021 at High-A Wisconsin, outfielder Joe Gray Jr. returned to the Midwest League and struggled badly, hitting just .193 with a .632 OPS in 123 games. He had trouble recovering from an early-season Lasik procedure but still wound up hitting 15 home runs with 54 RBIs.
“It was just a grind for him,” said Wisconsin manager Joe Ayrault, who also managed Gray last season at Low-A Carolina. “He got into a rut. Dealt with some issues with his eyes, but I know he’s already working and preparing for next season.”
— The Brewers tested catcher Jeferson Quero by promoting him to High-A Wisconsin after 75 games at Low-A Carolina. He responded by hitting .278 with four homers, 14 RBIs and an .860 OPS in 20 games.
More important, he continued to impress with his work behind the plate, which is considered to the strength of the 20-year-old’s game.
“Love him,” Ayrault said. “I’ve managed and coached a bunch of catchers—Devin Mesoraco, (Mario) Feliciano, Payton Henry. This one, at his age, all-around, he’s good. He can throw, he pays attention to scouting reports, good communicator, leader on the field.
“Everybody’s always talking about (Jackson) Chourio, but (Quero) is a good one behind the dish.”