Which Outfielder Makes the Opening Day Roster?
With the injury to Tyrone Taylor, the player that will fill his opening day roster spot in the outfield has been in question for a majority of spring training. Between spring training signing Tyler Naquin, 2020 4th round draft pick Joey Wiemer, and 20211st-round draft pick Sal Frelick, one of them will be in RF as an opening day outfielder.
While some have doubted Naquin’s ability to prove useful on the big league roster, Wiemer’s cannon will be a defensive weapon for years in RF, and Frelick just had a very impressive offensive outing for Team Italy in the 2023 WBC. Realistically, it seems the outfield spot will go to either Wiemer or Frelick, but it is unclear which of them will get the eventual nod.
On Saturday, Craig Counsell shed a bit of light on the situation, both by starting Wiemer in his lineup for Saturday’s game vs. the Padres and in some pre-game remarks:
Joey Wiemer is in the lineup again. He’s a candidate for the opening day roster, Counsell said today.
“He’s playing because he has a chance to be here…Obviously, he’s close. We have uncertainty in the outfield right now and that’s created some opportunities for guys.” https://t.co/daDfksiFZq
— Curt Hogg (@CyrtHogg) March 18, 2023
What Wiemer Has Going for Him
As previously mentioned, Wiemer has an incredibly powerful arm tailor-made for RF. Considering that the opening day roster has figured to feature Yelich in left and 2022 breakout prospect Garrett Mitchell in center, the RF slot is the one needing to be filled. Wiemer’s arm as a defensive asset could be enough to get the nod over Frelick.
Furthermore, given that Wiemer was drafted in 2020 compared to 2021 for Frelick, any close decisions could come down to the simple fact that Wiemer has spent an extra year in the minors. Frelick also has a lot of pop in his bat, and has displayed it during spring training. He hit his second HR of spring training on Friday vs. the Rangers, and impressed with a very long, loud 405-foot out to deep center with the wind blowing in:
Joey Wiemer just hit a 405-foot fly out to center field with the wind blowing in hard at Peoria Sports Complex. That was a poke.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 18, 2023
Regardless of the direction the Brewers go to start the 2023 season, it is almost certain both Wiemer and Frelick will see time with the big league team.
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