Brewers: What are the implications of Jackson Chourio making the Opening Day roster?

The Brewers have announced that top prospect Jackson Chourio will make the roster
Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day
Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

On Monday night, Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the Brewers top prospect, Jackson Chourio, will make the Opening Day roster. This was a huge sigh of relief for Brewers fans after some cryptic messages from Pat Murphy earlier in the day.

Chourio has been playing right field for most of spring training, which is not his normal position. In the minors Chourio played SS, 2B, CF, and RF. But, he played 256 games in center field compared to just 15 in right. It will be interesting continuing to see Chourio adjust to a new position in the majors. We can assume that Murphy wants to see him in right field based on spring training, which will likely leave the center field duties for 25 year old Garrett Mitchell.

Mitchell has proven he is a top talent in the Brewers organization, but injuries have plagued him. Last year Mitchell missed a majority of the season with a shoulder injury. Mitchell was a 2020 first round draft pick and made the Opening Day roster for the Brewers last year.

The final outfield spot is interesting this year, as we may see Christian Yelich in more of a DH role. Obviously Yelich will be on the roster after finding his stroke again in 2023, while slashing .278/.370/.447 at the plate, but the outfield is now filled with younger talent that are all very good defensively.

Sal Frelick will also be on the roster after debuting late in the 2023 campaign and making an instant impact on the team. The Brewers have been experimenting with Frelick at 3B in spring training, but primarily he has been an outfielder and can be used in many different spots on the field. The Brewers outfield is young, but consists of guys who are ready to make a big jump, highlighted by the rookie, Jackson Chourio.

Looking at the infield, there are still definitely some question marks, but let's begin with the gimmicks. William Contreras will certainly be behind the dish on Opening Day, as he blossomed last year into one of the best catchers in baseball. And in all likeliness, Rhys Hoskins should comfortably be the Opening Day starter at 1B after signing a 2-year contract with the Brewers this offseason. Brewers skipper Pat Murphy has also publicly announced that 24 year old Brice Turang will be the guy at 2B to start the season. Turang was recognized for his exceptional fielding last year, but ultimately struggled finding the bat as he hit a lowly .218 in his first season in the majors. Turang will look to have a bounce bag year at the plate and rekindle his swing from the minors where he batted a far more respectable .270/.363/.378 over five seasons.

As for the hot corner, there is no clear cut opening day starter. But, we can take an educated guess that it may be newly acquired MLB-ready prospect, Joey Ortiz. He came over in the Corbin Burnes trade a little over a month ago. Ortiz has had just 33 major league at-bats, but he is seemingly ready this year to make the jump. The 25 year old, Joey Ortiz, is the number five prospect in the Brewers system, but figures to be on the opening day roster. Ortiz is expected to be a very good fielder and could slot in perfectly at 3B.

There's only so many roster spots for hitters available. With Chourio making it, along with Yelich, it can be assumed Mitchell and Frelick make it, does that leave room for a Joey Wiemer on this roster? Will they carry five outfielders? Can Frelick's third base ability allow Wiemer to stick as a backup outfielder on the 26 man? If they carry three catchers: Contreras, Gary Sanchez, and Eric Haase, does that leave just one backup infield spot outside of Frelick? Will that go to Jake Bauers? There also needs to be a backup shortstop, which Frelick is not. Those are questions that will need to be answered over the next nine days.

Ultimately, this lineup is loaded with potential, but also set up to compete right now. The Brewers are coming off a 93 win season where they were crowned NL Central champions. And although this roster is drastically changed, they definitely expect to remain competitive this year.