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Brewers top prospects Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer are 'definitely in play' for the opening day roster

PHOENIX – Keston Hiura wasn't the only out-of-options player informed Friday that he wouldn't be on the Milwaukee Brewers opening day roster, as the team also informed outfielder Tyler Naquin he wasn't making the team.

Naquin has a steady track record in the majors with a .765 OPS and league-average 100 OPS across seven seasons and has hit righties particularly well, but has batted just .207 with a .570 this spring. Naquin had an opt-out in his contract earlier in the week but still has the ability to remain with the Brewers in the minor leagues.

The fallout of the decision with Naquin is it leaves the door open for someone else in Brewers major-league camp to seize the open outfield roster spot. And that someone may just be a top prospect.

Both Sal Frelick, ranked as the Brewers No. 2 prospect by the Journal Sentinel, and Joey Wiemer, ranked No. 3, are firmly in contention for the opening day roster, confirming what manager Craig Counsell alluded to last week.

"Those guys have played really, really well," Brewers general manager Matt Arnold said. "They’re definitely in play."

Another top prospect, infielder Brice Turang, has put himself in contention for a roster spot with his performance this spring, but the Brewers roster as constructed has more coverage on the infield.

Brewers prospect Sal Frelick is batting .313 in Cactus League play and excelled for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He has a chance to make the Brewers' opening day roster.
Brewers prospect Sal Frelick is batting .313 in Cactus League play and excelled for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He has a chance to make the Brewers' opening day roster.

In the outfield, however, Milwaukee has a need. With Tyrone Taylor hurt and Jesse Winker playing in the field on a part-time basis, Christian Yelich and Garrett Mitchell are the only outfielders outside of Frelick and Wiemer who project to play in the field regularly.

This spring, Frelick is batting .313 in Cactus League play and also excelled for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. Wiemer is among the team leaders in games played with 16 and has a .682 OPS with two homers.

Both Frelick and Wiemer tore up Class AAA after being promoted to the level last August. Frelick reached base in 38 consecutive games and, overall, had a .365 average and .847 OPS, while Wiemer had a .888 OPS with six homers while cutting down his strikeout rate from 30.2% at Class AA to 19.5%.

Brewers 6, Dodgers 6 (split squad)

The Brewers had their first tie of spring training at Camelback Ranch against the Dodgers.

Mike Brosseau launched his team-high sixth homer of spring and Josh VanMeter also went deep for the Brewers.

Wade Miley allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking three. Elvis Peguero and Tyson Miller also pitched.

Rockies 9, Brewers 4

Corbin Burnes' final tune-up before starting opening day at Wrigley Field next Thursday resulted in ample hard contact as he went five innings allowing five runs -- but don't think for a second Burnes or the Brewers are any worried.

Garrett Mitchell hit his fourth homer of Cactus League play for the Brewers.

In relief, Devin Williams threw a clean inning in his return from the World Baseball Classic and Matt Bush pitched his first scoreless inning of spring.

Prospect Ethan Small allowed four runs while walking three and registering just one out.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer could make Brewers opening day roster