Milwaukee Brewers are making a bold bet with Jackson Chourio

Milwaukee Brewers prospect Jackson Chourio smiles for a photo during minor league workouts at American Family Fields of Phoenix on March 6, 2023.Ctk18529 2
Milwaukee Brewers prospect Jackson Chourio smiles for a photo during minor league workouts at American Family Fields of Phoenix on March 6, 2023.Ctk18529 2 /

Jackson Chourio has yet to play a game in the big leagues but that did not stop the Milwaukee Brewers from giving him a record-setting contract extension.

Chourio is the team’s top prospect and is No. 2 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. He will be one of the club’s highest-paid players.

Chourio’s eight-year, $80 million extension is the richest contract given to a minor league player. There are also two option years included in the deal.

The extension tops the $50 million the Chicago White Sox gave Luis Robert Jr. in 2020.

If Chourio produces like Robert Jr., than this will be money well spent.

Jackson is extremely talented with the ability to be the face of the franchise for the next decade. The outfielder smashed 47 home runs during three seasons in the minors.

His slash line in 122 games at Double-A Biloxi was .280/.336/.467. He did play six games at Triple-A Nashville where he had a .851 OPS.

Now he will be on his way to Milwaukee.

You do not commit this type of contract with the intention of having him get some more at-bats in Nashville.

This commitment is also a sign that Chourio is the new face of the Milwaukee Brewers.

It is a bold bet that a 19-year-old will live up to the hype.

Then again, Chourio has produced at every level in the minors.

Before this deal, Fangraphs projected he would play in 63 games next season (they were probably assuming he would be given more time in Triple-A) with a .252/.303/.412 slash line and nine home runs.

Just because he has a big contract does not mean he will have his rookie struggles. The key for Chourio will be is making the necessary adjustments once teams have the book on how to get him out.

If he can do that, his talent gives him the ability to be one of the best players in the game.

While $80 million may seem like a lot of money to give to a player who has never had an at-bat at American Family Field, it is a smart move.

This gives the Milwaukee Brewers cost certainty on a potential star player.

If Jackson becomes an MVP, this contract will be a steal. Plus, how many times has this small market team been hamstrung in the offseason because of unknown costs with all the arbitration eligible players.

The risk is Chourio takes the money and slacks off. The White Sox also gave Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada big extensions after showing promise and those two’s work ethic have been in question ever since.

Also, there is the massive risk that Chourio turns out to be another Keston Hiura. Then that deal becomes an albatross.

It is worth the risk as the Crew needs his bat if they want to stay competitive. The Brewers have a chance to feature Christian Yelich, William Contreras, Chourio, and Frelick at the top of the lineup for years to come.

That has the potential to take the Brew Crew’s offense to new heights.

Related Story. 4 Sluggers Milwaukee Brewers Should Try to Trade For in Offseason. light