Chourio ready for Opening Day after torrid spring

March 23rd, 2024

MESA, Ariz. -- Brewers outfielder might change one thing about his first Major League Spring Training.

“Maybe a home run would have been nice,” Chourio said through interpreter Daniel de Mondesert. “But I think we’re all right."

MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 overall prospect is trending in that direction. Chourio called making the Opening Day roster a “dream come true,” and he will have help in celebrating his arrival in the Majors.

Chourio said his parents will be in New York when the Brewers open with a three-game series against the Mets on March 28.

“I called my parents … my dad was going crazy,” Chourio said about breaking the news earlier this week. “They are going to have the opportunity to go to New York. I’m extremely happy they are going to be there on Opening Day.”

Chourio, 20, will be the sixth-youngest player to appear with the Brewers when he makes his debut. Only Robin Yount (18), Eddie Romero (19), Darrell Porter (19), Gary Sheffield (19) and Kevin Kobel (19) would be younger.

“You always set goals, but the biggest goal is to go out there and be the best version of myself and stay positive every day,” Chourio said. “Hopefully it will be a good year for us. The main goal is to stay healthy.”

Chourio has seen time recently this spring in both outfield corners, and those positions appear to be his most likely landing spots -- at least early in the season.

In the Brewers’ 7-4 win over the Cubs on Saturday, he sprinted to the fence in right field and made a leaping catch to take an extra-base hit away from Christopher Morel. The Brewers’ bullpen, situated just beyond the fence, was duly impressed. Several relievers raised their hands in a standing ovation.

“There is a great possibility I will be somewhere in the corners,” Chourio said, with Garrett Mitchell the presumed starter in center field.

Chourio said his immediate goal defensively is to continue learning the corners.

“Getting better at right field would be nice,” he said. “Just keep learning as much as I possibly can and get better at it.”

The Brewers’ batting order remains a work in progress and could be subject to matchups at the top, but manager Pat Murphy said Chourio could be an option to lead off if he “keeps swinging the bat and showing his maturity.”

Chourio was 19-for-58 (.328) with three doubles, a triple and three RBIs this spring. He has shown patience and discipline at the plate, only striking out 12 times while facing Major League pitching for the first time.

Chourio was the Brewers’ Minor League co-player of the year in 2023, when he slashed .283/.338/.467 with 22 homers, 91 RBIs and 44 stolen bases in 128 games split between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville. All but six were at Biloxi, where he was over four years younger than the average Southern Leaguer.

“He’s impressive -- the speed, the bat speed that he has,” shortstop Willy Adames said. “He’s a talented guy. I’m happy to be on the field with him and watch him do what he does this year. The hype they have for him, I’m excited to see that.

“It’s a special moment [making the team] for him and his family and for us, too. We’re going to have a young guy that is going to be hungry to win. He’s talented. He’s going to help us a lot of ways in the game. I was just happy to see him. When they told him the news, it was an amazing feeling.

"It gave me goosebumps because when I got the news … it always takes you back. It was amazing to see him and that smile on his face.”