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Brewers Notes: Outfield, Gasser, Clarke

Brewers Notes: Outfield, Gasser, Clarke

The outfield mix in Milwaukee took a major hit earlier this week when the Brewers announced that center fielder Garrett Mitchell will open the season on the shelf due to a hand fracture. Mitchell, who the club selected 20th overall in the 2020 draft, was expected to be the club’s regular starter in center to open the season but now is ticketed for what could be an extended absence, his second in as many years after shoulder surgery wiped out the majority of his 2023 campaign.

Franchise face Christian Yelich and top prospect Jackson Chourio were slated to handle the outfield corners when it appeared that Michell would be the club’s starting center fielder, and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays that, per manager Pat Murphy, that’s still the plan. Chourio, 20, has made the overwhelming majority of his outfield appearances in center during his time in the minors and has just eight games of minor league experience in right field, but Murphy confirmed that the club will not change course and move Chourio to center while Mitchell is on the shelf. Instead, Murphy suggests (as relayed by Rosiak) that the Brewers will rely on a platoon featuring Sal Frelick and Blake Perkins in center while Mitchell is unavailable, with Frelick getting the lion’s share of playing time against right-handers while Perkins starts against southpaws.

Both Frelick, 24 in April, and Perkins, 27, made their big league debuts with Milwaukee last season and held their own in limited action with the club. The switch-hitting Perkins appeared in 67 games with the club while splitting time between all three outfield spots and slashed a decent .217/.325/.350 (88 wRC+) in 168 trips to the plate. Meanwhile, Frelick drew 223 plate appearances across 57 games with the Brewers and slashed .246/.341/.351 (92 wRC+) during that time while also going a solid 7-for-7 on the basepaths. The youngster took reps at third base this winter to create a possible path to additional playing time outside of the club’s crowded outfield, though it appears those plans are on hold in the wake of Mitchell’s injury.

The plan to platoon the two youngsters makes plenty of sense for Frelick, who posted a paltry 59 wRC+ against southpaws last year. With that being said, Perkins is somewhat of an odd choice for a platoon partner as he also struggled against southpaws last year with a 65 wRC+ from the right-handed side of the batters’ box in the majors. Should Perkins struggle in the role to…

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