You Can Call Me Sal
Sal Frelick (MIL): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB.
It’s time to talk about Mr. Frelick and what he has been doing in Milwaukee these past two weeks. How nice that he puts up an impressive game Thursday so that we are able to dig in. What a kind man.
Thursday, Frelick powered the Brewers past the listless Pirates with a 3-run home run and a 2-run double on the way to a 14-1 Brewers victory. He also walked twice, which hey, walks don’t get enough love here.
A 2021 1st round pick out of Boston College, Sal Frelick has been a top prospect in the Brewers system from the get-go. We’ve come a long way since when scouts only cared about a player being tall, burly, and having a good-looking girlfriend. But since Frelick stands 5’10, which is totally normal by the way how dare you, and I’m sure he loves love regardless of looks, a few questions have been presented about his future power output. Last year across 3 different levels he capped out at 11 home runs, but since he also stole 24 bases, I find the power shortage easy to overlook. What we’ve seen from Frelick since being called up is the man can hit, and the man can field his position. In fact, he looks like a gold-glove outfielder.
The Brewers are a playoff team, or at least should be this year. Frelick is the perfect compliment to the lineup and I don’t see Craig Counsell taking him out of the lineup, even for platoons. I say this and he has been platooned but hey, you have to believe in something. If Frelick is in a platoon with say, Joey Wiemer, I like Frelick’s odds of sticking around. That isn’t a knock on Wiemer, I just think Frelick has the potential to be much more consistent with the bat and in the field.
The Brewers don’t get enough credit as a factory for young talent. The main contribution that gets overlooked is that they develop catchers so well. Jonathan Lucroy and Omar Narváez, as examples, in the past, were just OK catchers and once the Brewers got their hands on them they become close to elite defensively. The same is happening with William Contreras. We knew he could hit but the Brew Crew is turning him into one of the better defensive catchers as well. It’s almost like defense is important. Who knew? Not me, I refuse to believe it.
Why do I ramble about catchers becoming better in the Brewers system with regard to Sal Frelick? Well, I’m glad you asked. That would be because Frelick is already a finished product defensively meaning the Brewers will have no choice but to play him. Sure he may be platooned sometimes because we live in dark, platoon times (let Josh Lowe play Tampa, we all want to see a full season), but Sal is the real deal. He may not be a massive fantasy get but in his short time, he looks like what every boomer dad loves. A ball player.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday
Bobby Witt Jr. (KC): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
The Kansas City Royals have won 6 games in a row. Somewhere Paul Rudd is smiling. Maybe not because the Royals are on a 6 game win streak, but because somewhere Paul Rudd is smiling. Over the last few weeks, Witt Jr. has started to look like a superstar and Thursday was no different. What were you doing at 23? I had just graduated college, achieving an illustrious history degree from Colorado State University and working at the sexy, glamorous Office Max. I’m sure Witt Jr. was reluctant to follow in these printer-inked-soaked footsteps, but I guess he’s done okay for himself too. I joke because we have to remember that he is 23. And he just turned 23. This is the next superstar. We no longer have to keep an eye on him because our eyes are firmly on him.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 2-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Another young upstart who we hope to become good one day, Shohei Ohtani is the best player in the world. I actually texted my friend about being against him in fantasy tonight. I said, “Oh no Ohtani got hurt, he didn’t pitch past the 4th.” I said this while thanking the baseball gods that he didn’t get a quality start against my team, you know, very sly. He responded, “Didn’t he just hit a home run?” If that doesn’t describe how insane Ohtani is, I don’t know what will. Also, it sounds like he’s fine, just cramping. I wouldn’t be shocked if they sat him on his next go in the rotation.
Cade Marlowe (SEA): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Speaking of the Angels, they may be cursed. They actually have a decent amount of veteran talent on their roster right now, things just seem to fall apart. Possessing a really great hard-boiled detective name, Cade Marlowe, helped the Angels fall apart Thursday in a big way hitting a go-ahead grand slam. The Mariners are not out of this wild card race and it’s clear they think they are still in this. The trade deadline is always fun because there are the teams in it, and not in it. The Mariners only sold their closer. The thing is, they had a closer, possibly a better closer, waiting in the wings named Andrés Muñoz. They need to strike out less and they need big hits from young cats like Marlowe. Keep an eye on him. He’s slashing .333/.429/.667 since his call-up. Also 5 walks to 6 strikeouts.
Brice Turang (MIL): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Another young Brewer, Turang has been hit hard with the Counsell platoon so far this year. Thursday he had a nice game to bury the Pittsburgh Pirates but I do worry about his future potential with the Brewers platoons. They aren’t quite as bad as the Rays, but they are getting there. If he starts to play regularly against lefties, he’s an easy add in deeper leagues.
Alec Burleson (STL): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
I saw this name and thought, didn’t this guy go down for the rest of the year? That was Brendan Donovan. Honest mistake since they look like they are clones besides Donovan having slightly better hair. The Cardinals are firmly out of the playoff race but crazier things have happened. Burleson looks to factor in their future plans.
Bryan De La Cruz (MIA): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
Who is Bryan De La Cruz? On any given night it feels like he can present himself as any player. Thursday, he looked like a stud but the Marlins fell short to the Phillies thanks to a late-inning run by the Phils. I keep a close eye on Bryan De La Cruz because one, he hits the ball hard, and two, he goes through periods where he looks like the best player in baseball. The man needs some consistency.
J.T. Realmuto (PHI): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Tonight I deliberately picked players who aren’t the who’s who of the MLB. Realmuto may be the only one on the “what else is there to say list.” Although I will say, he hasn’t been perfect these past two years, he makes up for it by being an absolute stud behind the plate. The Phillies need to fend off the Marlins if they want to make the wild card. Realmuto is a massive part of this.
Spencer Steer (CIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
A new month, a new Steer. July we saw Spenc slow down a bit slashing only .233/.303/.311 with 2 home runs. He’s already hit 2 home runs in the month of August. The Reds got swept in Wrigley at the start of this week thanks to the red-hot Cubs. They need pitching yes, but they also need their young studs to continue to step up.
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 4-4, 2 R, RBI.
In this 4-game series against the Blue Jays, Mountcastle had 11 hits including 4 doubles. He did not play a full month in July, but it’s clear he is feeling fantastic. Jack Flaherty looked like the ace the Orioles had been missing all year Thursday, putting them in the “terrifying” category as far as playoff teams go. With Gunnar Henderson breaking out and showing superstar potential, Mountcastle just needs to be good to OK. I think it helps he’s seeing more fastballs, cause he has been quite good lately.
Zack Gelof (OAK): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
These next two players I probably could’ve gone with other selections. For example, Elly De La Cruz hit a home run so I’m sure we will all see that for the next 24 hours. Zack Gelof has been a bright spot for the A’s since his call-up on July 14th. The word I would describe him so far while watching his at-bats is comfortable. He has a decent amount of swing-and-miss in his profile but he takes his walks, and as shown tonight, he has the ability to hit home runs. I have bought Gelof everywhere I can in dynasty leagues; the A’s are going to give him every opportunity. He has already hit 5 home runs at the MLB level, and even though it may come with some strikeouts, a full season of Gelof could be an easy 20-20 player.
Tyler Soderstrom (OAK): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.
Gelof’s teammate, Soderstrom, hit his first home run of his young career Thursday. Soderstrom looks a lot less comfortable at the big league level so far, but the upside here is most likely higher than Gelof. Since he plays catcher, he is a name to remember when drafting next season. The A’s don’t have much going for them and we all know they made really odd trades over the past few years. We may not see them try until they move to Vegas cause their owner doesn’t want to impact moving the team, but Gelof and Soderstrom are a main part of the A’s future for now.