Chourio is youngest Brewer since '88 to go deep

Top prospect slugs first HR at age 20 & 23 days, youngest with Crew since Sheffield

April 3rd, 2024

MILWAUKEE -- No young hitter is above getting the silent treatment in the wake of his first career home run. Not even when he’s the No. 2-ranked prospect in baseball, and maybe the most hyped prospect in Brewers history.

“It was a little bit weird, but I think I was waiting on it,” said after making the lonely walk down the dugout during Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Twins at American Family Field. “I’m just happy, honestly.”

That was obvious.

“We’re giving him the silent treatment,” said Rhys Hoskins, who also homered for his first as a Brewer in a home game, “and he’s just smiling and laughing his whole way down the dugout.”

Aside from the Brewers’ first foray into the loss column in 2024, Chourio should be happy, because less than a week into the season, and less than a month removed from his 20th birthday, the youngest player in Major League Baseball has already flashed all of the tools that got him here. He’s proven he can run wild on the bases and play a smooth right field. He’s shown enough bat control to become the eighth Brewers player with a hit in each of the first five games of his career.

And now he’s flashed his power for the first time.

Let the record reflect that Chourio’s first Major League home run was a solo shot to center field in the fifth inning off a slider from Twins right-hander Daniel Duarte. Chourio sent it a Statcast-projected 402 feet at 103.5 mph off the bat to extend the Brewers’ lead to 3-1 before it got away from Milwaukee’s hard-worked bullpen in a five-run seventh.

In the moment, however, it was pure joy.

“Off the bat, I knew it was gone there,” Chourio said.

The homer continued a seamless start for Chourio, who was a teenager just last month -- in the same month he became the second-youngest player in modern AL/NL history to debut as his team's leadoff hitter on Opening Day. Only Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who was 19 years and 13 days old when he debuted for the Red Sox on Opening Day 1937, did so at a younger age than Chourio against the Mets last week.

After five games, Chourio already has seven hits. The only Brewers player with more hits in the same span turned out alright. He was Paul Molitor, with nine hits in the first five games of 1978. Chourio is the youngest Brewers hitter to homer since Gary Sheffield in 1988, and the youngest Major Leaguer to homer since Juan Soto in 2018.

By day’s end, Brewers equipment manager Jason Shawger had already retrieved the baseball from beyond the center-field wall and sealed it in a case with the date and occasion.

“He’ll remember it for sure. I’ll remember it,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said. “Day by day, you notice more and more that Jackson belongs in the big leagues. There was some touch and go early in Spring Training, where it was like, ‘Is he ready for this?’ But he’s proven that he’s ready for it.”

It didn’t take long.

“He’s come up with a lot of hype and a lot of expectations,” Christian Yelich said. “That’s not always easy to deal with as a young player, but I thought he did great in New York. … We’ll see how the season goes for him, but I’ve said since Spring Training that we just need him to be Jackson. Whatever that is.”

That’s something you hear a lot from ballplayers: Be yourself.

What does that phrase mean to Chourio?

“For me, it’s just playing hard and playing with a little bit of adrenaline out there,” Chourio said. “It’s giving the team the best chance to go out there and win.”

This time, the win got away from Joel Payamps, who was saddled with four earned runs in the seventh inning while pitching for the fourth time in six days, and Bryse Wilson, who surrendered Ryan Jeffers’ tie-breaking, three-run homer. They were among the Brewers relievers called upon after starter Joe Ross worked 3 2/3 innings in his first MLB appearance in 967 days.

Chourio will get more chances to contribute to wins with his budding power.

“It’s really cool for his family to be able to be here and for it to be at home,” Hoskins said. “It’s something that this guy is going to remember for the rest of his life. Hopefully we see many, many more.”