These Brewers stars have advice for rising prospect Chourio

Ranked No. 1 in club's system and climbing in Top 100, OF comes out hot after promotion

July 29th, 2022

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- , a reputable authority on baseball’s top prospects considering he was once one himself, says he’s excited as anybody about the promise of top Brewers prospect Jackson Chourio.

But having metaphorically stood in those shoes, Yelich also offered some words of advice as the Chourio hype train chugged this week into Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, where he is the only 18-year-old in the High-A Midwest League after tearing through Single-A Carolina as the youngest player in that league, too. Chourio is also the youngest player on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list at No. 36 and rising. He was the youngest player at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

Yelich knows some of what Chourio is experiencing. He reached as high as No. 9 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 before graduating in the second half of 2013.

Yelich’s advice? Everyone take a breath and let Chourio play.

“I thought I was ready. Now, 10 years later looking back on it, I didn’t know [squat],” Yelich said. “I look back and wonder, ‘How did you even survive?’ … Baseball is a game of failure and they hype most of these kids up as the savior of the franchise, the next best thing, perennial All-Star, Hall of Famer. And that’s just not how the game works.

“Obviously, the talent is there. This is a very talented kid, a very gifted player who probably will be a very good player. But you have to just let the process happen. He will be ready when he’s ready.”

Chourio, for his part, seems to be enjoying the ride. In front of larger-than-usual crowds just 90 miles north of Milwaukee’s American Family Field, he tallied multiple hits in each of his first two games with the High-A Timber Rattlers after logging a .973 OPS at Single-A Carolina. When he answered questions in front of a crowd of cameras on Thursday, his responses were mostly short until he had the opportunity to talk about the influence of his father, Jackson Chourio Sr., while growing up in Maracaibo in Venezuela’s oil country, the hometown of Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, former MLB All-Star Carlos Gonzalez and current Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres.

Chourio smiled while describing his style of play, through teammate and translator Arbert Cipion, as “a really good hitter who runs a lot and plays really good defense,” before adding with an even bigger smile, “and a lot of power.” He said he didn’t model his game off any current big leaguers but doesn’t mind the comparisons to Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr., high praise which came from Carolina manager Victor Estevez.

And he said he knows it’s a long road to the Majors.

“I understand that I am a child. I am super young,” Chourio said. “But I am super mature. That’s how I manage myself.”

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Of his rise on the prospect lists, Chourio said, “I feel really good about it. Sometimes I don’t even think about it and can’t imagine it. But it’s a good feeling.”

Here in central Wisconsin, the hype surrounding Chourio reminded one longtime Timber Rattlers staffer of Mariners prospects Adam Jones as an 18-year-old in 2004 or 17-year-old Félix Hernández in '03.

“He’s a good one,” Timber Rattlers manager Joe Ayrault said. “Seeing him in Spring Training, we knew we had something special. He’s a great kid, very mature for his age. You can see why the fans are coming out to see him.”

Yelich is not the only former premium prospect in the Brewers clubhouse who can understand Chourio’s quick rise. was a string bean who threw 85 mph in high school and was thrilled to get a chance as a 19th-round Draft pick of his hometown Orioles in 2012. His hype started to build before he was traded twice, first to the Astros in 2013 and then to the Brewers in ’15. He was MLB Pipeline’s No. 61 prospect going into 2016, when he made the All-Star Futures Game, and rose to No. 38 in the ’17 preseason rankings. Baseball Prospectus had Hader ranked as high as No. 19.

“When you start talking about the hype and the media, it’s like, ‘This guy is going to be this guy,’ or, ‘This guy has to be this guy.’ I think that’s where it gets into trouble,” Hader said. “They read that and think, You have to be this. Then their expectations are higher and higher instead of just going with it and developing what you need to be better. That hype can get to your head, and that’s when you get in trouble.”

Hader’s advice for a prospect like Chourio?

“Just go with your journey,” Hader said. “Build little steps and then eventually you have a staircase.”

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

What would Yelich advise the young man?

“I would say block it out,” Yelich said. “Just because someone says you’re going to be great doesn’t mean you’re going to be great, just like because someone says you’re terrible doesn’t mean you’re terrible. Stay in your own world.

“Just don’t rush it. You’re ready when you’re ready and you get here. It’s an honor to be talked about in those circles and it’s great for him, it’s great for the team. Just let it play out how it’s going to play out.”

Chourio indicated that he aims to do that.

He also knows that the home of the Brewers is just down the highway.

“I do think about it often, and that’s something I dream about,” he said. “But for now, I have my feet exactly where they are. I’m living in the moment.”