Oftentimes, when we talk about players being unable to adjust to better pitching and chasing excessively, it’s due to a variety of problems. When extreme power is shown in the lower minors, that can get caught out at higher levels, because of huge, hacking swings at the ball. Hitters accustomed to being able to exploit pitchers with certain deficiencies and attack the ball suddenly haven’t got the time to spot the pitch before they start to swing the bat.
This is not Jackson Chourio’s issue. He’s a 19-year-old in Double A, facing a ball that’s moving at MLB levels with less command than usual from the pitchers (if early results are anything to go by), and as such, picking the pitches to hit is an extreme challenge.
Chourio has so much power, but it actually comes from an incredibly short swing. Jim Bowden of the Athletic said as much, after observing batting practice before the Futures Game.
“His line-drive stroke was the shortest and most direct to the ball of any right-handed hitter who took BP,” Bowden wrote.
⚾️🏈 (@JimBowdenGM) July 8, 2023
Keith Law was equally impressed after the game itself.
“Jackson Chourio (Milwaukee) was 0-for-4, but you could see the crazy bat speed and how much he can let the ball travel on him before starting his hands,” Law wrote.
He’s attempting to work out when to swing, and when not to, and as such, the results are less important than showing improvements in this area. Still, we can enjoy some of the results: Chourio has struck out just three times in his last 50 plate appearances, finishing the first half season on a high with a double and a home run.
He has prodigious power, and potentially great contact skills once he fine-tunes his control of the plate, something even Elly De La Cruz struggled with until recently before his call up.
Pitch recognition is a skill that requires experience more than any other, and it’s a major reason why Chourio’s age is so important in considering this. If he hasn’t developed plate awareness by this time next season, that’s a bigger issue, but he’s showing definite signs of development.
This is still the best prospect in the Brewers system, and he’ll be leaping forwards in no time.
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