Jacksons steal the show: Two top prospects combine for history

April 16th, 2024

MILWAUKEE -- The Jacksons are making an early strong impression.

of the Brewers and the Padres’ , both 20-year-old rookies, made some history on Monday night.

Chourio had two hits, including a two-run homer in the second inning, his third round-tripper of the year. Merrill had three hits, including a two-run single in the game-changing fifth inning that pushed the Padres to a 7-3 win over the Brewers.

Chourio and Merrill became the fourth pair of 20-year-olds or younger since 1920 (when RBI became an official stat) each with multiple hits and multiple RBIs in the same game.

They joined Tony Conigliaro and Tony Horton, both of the Red Sox, on Aug. 21, 1965; Vada Pinson (Reds) and Ron Fairly (Dodgers) on May 18, 1959; and Harmon Killebrew (Washington Senators) and Clete Boyer (Kansas City A’s) on July 16, 1955.

A pair of 20-year-olds with just multiple hits in the same game last happened on April 28, 2019, with Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres and Juan Soto of the Nationals.

Chourio, MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 overall prospect and MLB’s youngest player currently, is in the midst of a stretch against baseball’s second-youngest (Baltimore’s Jackson Holliday) and third-youngest (Merrill) players.

“It’s crazy watching these guys,” said Brewers catcher William Contreras, who was the ripe old age of 22 when he made his own big league debut with the Braves in 2020. “It’s tremendous talent over there in Baltimore with the young guys and Holliday, and with [the Padres and] Merrill here as well. It’s impressive when they’re 20-year-olds going up against 30-year-olds. It’s crazy and it’s impressive.”

Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove credited his young teammate for his discipline at the plate.

“He’s been incredible. Good bat to ball skills,” Musgrove said. “He’s just been a really big spark plug for us energy-wise. He’s young, he’s hungry and happy to be here. He brings a little something to the table every day, whether it’s on the field or in the clubhouse.”

Padres manager Mike Shildt also had high praise for Merrill, Pipeline's No. 12 overall prospect.

“He’s not trying to do too much,” Shildt said. “He’s just staying within himself and letting his talent play. He’s been impressive.”

Musgrove doled out compliments for Chourio, who took him deep to give the Brewers an early lead and became the youngest rookie to hit three home runs in his first 13 games since Andruw Jones in 1996.

“Good player. He’s really been struggling with fastballs and then I gave him something a little too hittable,” Musgrove said. “There are some holes in his swing, but he’s a tough out. He swings the bat hard, and he makes hard contact. He’s got a lot of chase, but he’s also good at putting the bat on the ball out of the zone.”

Chourio made a good first impression on Shildt, too.

“He clearly looks like a nice player,” Shildt said. “He put a nice swing on a ball early in the game. Looks like a pretty dynamic player.”