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Jackson Chourio, the Milwaukee Brewers’ top prospect, set to make Opening Day roster, per report

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Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Jackson Chourio will make the Opening Day active roster, Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. That in turn means that Chourio is likely to be the Brewers’ starter in center field when they open the season against the Mets in New York on March 28. Hogg notes that such an assignment would make the 20-year-old Chourio the third-youngest player since 1900 to start in center field on Opening Day. 

Coming into this season, CBS Sports ranked Chourio as the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball. Here’s part of our write-up: 

Chourio, the breakout star of the 2022 minor-league season, is a dynamic talent. He’s the rare player who can launch opposite-field home runs with regularity, as well as put infielders in a blender on would-be routine grounders. (There was a game in late April against the Angels‘ Double-A affiliate where he recorded infield singles to the shortstop and the third baseman in consecutive frames.) Some evaluators have expressed hit-tool concerns generated by his aggressive approach. It’s a fair consideration, but Chourio has earned the benefit of the doubt by holding his own in the upper minors at such a young age. If everything clicks, he’ll provide the Brewers with their fifth 30/30 season. And their sixth, their seventh, their eighth, and so on.

In December of last year, Chourio at the age of 19 signed a long-term contract extension with the Brewers that will guarantee him at least $82 million and could be worth more than $140 million. That extension shattered the record for the largest contract ever signed by a player before making their MLB debut.

It’s important to note that Jackson Merrill, one of the San Diego Padres‘ top prospects and CBS Sports’ No. 12-ranked prospect overall, is also expected to be manning center field for his debut against the Dodgers on Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. The 20-year-old would join Chourio as among the youngest to start at center. 

Chourio will be important member of a Brewers team angling to defend their National League Central title in 2024. It has been an up-and-down offseason for the Brewers. Early on, the team lost manager Craig Counsell to the rival Chicago Cubs before later trading franchise ace Corbin Burnes to the Baltimore Orioles. The team also signed first baseman Rhys Hoskins to a two-year deal and catcher Gary Sánchez to a one-year contract. 

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