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College baseball prospect rankings: No. 5 Sal Frelick

Over the next couple weeks leading up to the 2021 MLB Amateur Draft, Sports Info Solutions will be publishing a series of scouting reports from three of our Video Scouts for the top-10 collegiate draft prospects and five honorable mentions. Each player is graded by the 20-80 scouting scale, given a comprehensive evaluation, and assigned a floor and a ceiling comparison, which indicate–if a player makes the Major Leagues–the range of the type of player into which he can develop.

To read all the reports, click here.

SAL FRELICK, INF/OF

College Boston College (JR, 2021)
Bio L/R 5-9, 175 lbs.
Date of Birth
Hit 45 (60)
Power 35 (45)
Run 70 (70)
Field 50 (60)
Arm 50 (50)
Future Value 60

Written by Adam Lan

Analysis:

Frelick is a multi-sport athlete who oozes athleticism, allowing scouts to dream big on his potential.  While the physical ability is tremendous, it is still somewhat raw, but the plus makeup makes it easy to see a high floor in addition to the vast ceiling. 

Frelick was a three-sport star in high school, playing quarterback and winning the Gatorade POY for Massachusetts in football, as well as being an accomplished hockey player. Although he explored options that would allow him to play both baseball and football collegiately, he ended up going to Boston College to focus solely on baseball.  

Early College Career:

As a freshman in 2019, Frelick immediately flashed the tools that will undoubtedly make him a high draft pick, hitting .367/.447/.513 with 4 HR, 32 RBI, 30 R, and 18 SB in just 39 games, due to a knee injury. More impressively, Frelick had 22 walks to 16 strikeouts as a true freshman. 

The outstanding debut did not go unnoticed, as Frelick was voted to the All-ACC Second Team, ACC All-Freshman team, and was named a Freshman All-American by several respected publications. Expectations were high going into 2020, and like most people, it was not a great year for Frelick. In just 15 games before the season was canceled, Frelick hit .241/.380/.414 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, 17 R, and 7 SB. Albeit a small sample size, the speed and plate discipline still stood out. Frelick once again walked more than he struck out with 11 walks vs 6 strikeouts.  

With no Cape Cod league in 2020 to make up for the lost at bats, Frelick plied his wares in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League for the North Shore Navigators and did not disappoint. In 35 games, Frelick hit .361/.438/.594 with 7 HR, 22 SB, and once again had more walks than strikeouts. 

Although the expectations were high for Boston College, the team would underwhelm in 2021, as the individual parts did not add up to team success. This was no fault of Frelick who, despite getting pitched around at times, carried over his success in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League to Boston College.

FRELICK’S MOST FLASHY TOOL IS HIS SPEED … HIS OUTSTANDING PLATE DISCIPLINE IS PERHAPS HIS MOST EXCITING TOOL.

Frelick hit .359/.443/.559 flashing more extra base power, hitting 6 HR, 25 extra base hits, and 13 SB. He totaled 27 walks and 28 strikeouts. Frelick’s outstanding season made him a Golden Spikes Semifinalist, 3rd Team All-American from Baseball America, earned him a spot on the All-ACC First team, as well as ACC Defensive Player of the year and becoming the first player in school history to win an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove.

Scouting Report

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment  in a long line of impressive feats, is the defensive progression Frelick made at Boston College. Playing mostly shortstop in high school, Frelick had never played in the outfield before moving to right field in 2019. He eventually settled in center field.  Frelick quickly took to the outfield, displaying a natural feel for reads, which combined with his plus athleticism resulted in a plethora of highlight-reel plays. 

Frelick has a strong and accurate arm and plays defense with a reckless abandon that will surely endear him to fans of whichever team drafts him. While his defensive home likely lies in center due to his plus speed, his versatility will serve him well at the next level as he has shown the ability to play shortstop and second base. 

Frelick’s most flashy tool is his speed, but as evidenced by his career 60/50 walk-to-strikeout rate, his outstanding plate discipline is perhaps his most exciting tool.

Frelick is not afraid to attack pitchers, jumping on a pitch he can drive, but his mastery of the strike zone allows him to exhibit patience, working counts and getting on base where he can flash his plus speed. Frelick’s short, simple swing and plus bat speed let him cover the plate top to bottom, and while he is more of a slap hitter with gap power, he has shown the ability to drive the ball, leading some scouts to think more power is on the way. 

Summation:

Possessing some of the most tantalizing tools at the collegiate level, Frelick actually has a rare combination of high floor and high ceiling. His plus speed, plate discipline, and ability to make solid contact should all translate to the next level, but given his relative lack of ABs due to injury, COVID, and being a northeastern multi-sport high school prospect, more progression is still possible.

Projection:  Potential 5 tool outfielder with plus speed and excellent bat-to-ball skills

Ceiling: Victor Robles (with fewer strikeouts)

Floor: Myles Straw

Draft Expectation: Top-15 pick